The key players in a horrifying torture case in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.Source:The Advertiser
The key players in a horrifying torture case in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.Source:The Advertiser

Sadistic couple jailed over harrowing torture of babysitter

THE ringleader of a sadistic gang which tortured a teenage babysitter at an Adelaide home for 18 hours using an array of weapons has been jailed for nearly 10 years.

A District Court judge condemned the two "cruel" couples for their "campaign of terror", during which they inflicted "severe pain" and "humiliation" on the girl, then aged 19, in June last year.

The quartet, all drug addicted parents of young children, were given a combination of jail time and suspended sentences by Judge Jack Costello on Wednesday morning.

• Joshua Anthony Gent, 29 - who was on a good behaviour bond at time of the offending - received a non-parole period of nine years, two months and one week in jail.

His head sentence was 15 years, seven months and one week, which also took into account a breach of a drugs good behaviour bond and other theft offences.

• His former partner and mother-of-one Keira Jane Baker, 28, was jailed for a minimum of six years and two months. Her total sentence was 10 years, two weeks and three days.

• Patrick Breen, 25 - who was on home detention bail for driving offences - received a non-parole imprisonment period of three years and 11 months, which had been reduced from three three years and nine months.

• Mother-of-two Stacey Gaffney, 23 - who had a largely passive role in the prolonged torture session - received a 14-month suspended sentence upon entering a two-year, $500 good behaviour bond.

The two women, Baker and Gaffney, wept in the dock in Adelaide while the sentences were handed down - before hugging after sentencing - while Gent and Breen were patched in from jail via audio-visual link.

As the victim watched from the public gallery, Judge Costello condemned the gang for their "mindless, cruel and sadistic violence".

The Advertiser revealed the case's harrowing details at the weekend, which included the gang using screwdrivers and car jumper leads to inflict "extreme pain" as she was tied up with a dog lead and force-fed bleach.

Numerous "chilling threats" were made about rape and murder - her body was to be dumped at the nearby Mt Crawford forest, in the Adelaide Hills.

During the ordeal the gang - arrested after a police tip off from a concerned friend's relative - shopped, completed chores and supervised their children.

They subjected the innocent babysitter to the cruel acts around children over mistaken claims she "dobbed" in a friend to police.

Officers described it as one of the worst cases of cruelty.

Horrified authorities said the gang's "wanton violence" - filmed on mobile phones - was "even more disturbing" because young children were present.

In her victim impact statement, the northern suburbs victim told the court of her "heartbreaking trauma".

She declined to read it to the court last month after becoming overcome with emotion.

Prosecutor Kelly Smith paid tribute to her "courage" as did Judge Costello, who said her trauma was completely understandable.

The victim wept from the public gallery as Ms Smith read on her behalf: "I find it hard to do day to day activities (such as) going out to public places because I feel like I will see the offenders.

"The experience has left me with disturbed sleep, overwhelming fear and an inability to enjoy life in a normal way."

Gent, Baker and Breen faced up to 25 years in jail after pleading guilty to aggravated unlawful detention and cause serious harm with intent charges between June 15th and 18th last year.

They also admitted stealing her mobile phone, bank card, laptop, jewellery and other items valued at up to $2500.

Gent and Baker also admitted aggravated threaten to kill charges against the housemate and an axe robbery.

Gaffney, who lived with her fiancee Breen but was listed as the sole occupant, pleaded guilty to aggravated unlawful detention.

Judge Costello granted her plea for mercy after she gave birth to her and Breen's son while he was in custody, having been pregnant for all of the criminal proceedings.

The gang, avid social media users, received a 30 per cent sentencing discount.

Gaffney, a carer, had other charges dropped.

News Corp Australia

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