A South Mackay man tortured his former girlfriend, burning her with a cigarette lighter and striking her with a belt. Photo: File
A South Mackay man tortured his former girlfriend, burning her with a cigarette lighter and striking her with a belt. Photo: File

Tortured, choked: Mackay man’s horrific assaults on partner

FOR several horrific hours, a man used a cigarette lighter to burn his partner’s skin, forced her to shower with the wounds and pushed a tie against her mouth so she couldn’t breathe.

During the “horrendous” ordeal, Darren James Rebbeck also struck her legs with a belt, punched her in the head and pushed down on her injuries.

He left her with burn marks, bruising and abrasions on her body.

But from custody, the South Mackay man tried to get the woman to tell police she had inflicted the injuries on herself.

Mackay District Court heard the torture came after a string of other assaults Rebbeck inflicted on the woman.

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Crown prosecutor Samantha O’Rourke said the series of assaults arose out of jealousy, as Rebbeck continuously accused his partner of infidelity.

The court heard the first assault occurred in March 2019.

Ms O’Rourke said Rebbeck pushed the woman onto the bed multiple times then grabbed her neck multiple times, pressing harder and telling her to “die bitch”.

Her throat was squeezed so hard, she blacked out three or four times and lost consciousness.

Ms O’Rourke said a few days later, he squeezed her neck again and then about two weeks later, Rebbeck again grabbed her throat, slapped her repeatedly, hit her with a brush and punched her in the face and ribs.

Rebbeck did not stop there. He held the woman’s head under water in the shower then pulled her head out so she could breathe, but then shoved her back under the water.

The court heard she was left with a black eye and bruising, but the next night she was given even more injuries when Rebbeck tortured her across several hours.

A woman was choked by her then partner, causing her to black out multiple times. Photo: File
A woman was choked by her then partner, causing her to black out multiple times. Photo: File

Ms O’Rourke argued Rebbeck showed a lack of remorse, because he attempted to contact the woman multiple times from within custody and tried to get her to withdraw her statement.

“He wanted her to say that she had done it to herself,” Ms O’Rourke said.

Rebbeck had already spent 19 months in custody that could count towards his sentence.

The 41-year-old man this week pleaded guilty to multiple charges including torture, choking, attempting to pervert the course of justice and assault occasioning bodily harm.

Defence barrister Scott McLennan said Rebbeck was not inherently violent, as his client had no offences on his criminal history for violence.

However, the court heard Rebbeck did have a history of drug offending including a six-year jail sentence for trafficking.

He was on parole when he committed the violent assaults on his former partner.

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Mr McLennan said Rebbeck was previously a family man with a good work history, but that all changed in 2011 when he was traumatised by witnessing a “horrific” accident on a railway.

Shortly after, Rebbeck’s own vehicle was hit by a train.

“He wasn’t a meth user at all and he suffered those events in 2011 and that’s what caused his descent ultimately into methylamphetamine use,” Mr McLennan said.

Mr McLennan argued Rebbeck was remorseful and a good candidate for rehabilitation because if he could properly treat his PTSD, he could get on top of his drug use and return to the man he was before 2011.

The defence barrister then read a note written by Rebbeck to the court, saying he had a tumultuous upbringing in which he witnessed his mother being severely assaulted by his father.

The note said when Rebbeck tried to intervene, he was assaulted himself.

“All my life I’ve been conscious of the seriousness of domestic violence, I never thought I’d come before this honourable court for harming a woman,” the note read.

A South Mackay man will spend more time in jail after horrifically assaulting his partner. Photo: File
A South Mackay man will spend more time in jail after horrifically assaulting his partner. Photo: File

He stated he was “ashamed” and “horrified” he had harmed his former partner, who he loved.

During sentencing, Judge Julie Dick told Rebbeck his crimes were “unforgivable” and stressed choking laws were in place because research showed choking was the “last step before a domestic murder”.

“It’s just a hair’s breath in it, particularly when she lost consciousness a couple of times,” Judge Dick said.

Judge Dick noted Rebbeck had experienced domestic violence in the past but had shown he could act responsibly, as he had a successful marriage until his life “spiralled downhill” after he witnessed the rail accident. p

“I take into account the victim impact statement as well, this young woman is still suffering,” Judge Dick said.

Rebbeck was sentenced to eight years’ jail and he will be eligible for parole on 16 March, 2022.


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