Brisbane’s child sex offenders and their vile crimes revealed
They are the sex offenders who preyed on our city’s most vulnerable and whose abhorrent acts have shocked the Brisbane community.
These are some of the convicted sex offenders whose vile crimes have been aired in Brisbane’s courts and made headlines across the state.
Sterling Free told police that “the urge took over” when he kidnapped a young girl from the toy aisle of a Brisbane shopping centre.
The seven-year-old girl was lured from Kmart at Westfield North Lakes and taken to bushland where Free sexually assaulted her.
After the assault, he dressed the girl, driving her back to North Lakes leaving her at a car wash.
On the drive, Free began to cry and the little girl asked if he was OK.
In October last year, the Morayfield father was jailed for eight years after he pleaded to deprivation of liberty, taking a child for immoral purposes and indecent treatment of a child under 12 years.
The Attorney-General appealed the “manifestly inadequate” sentence arguing Free’s parole eligibility date of August 2021 had been set too early.
The Court of Appeal granted the appeal in March this year, keeping the head sentence of eight years’ jail but with no recommendation for eligibility for parole.
Shannon Norgate served just over a year behind bars after he sexually assaulted two young boys in a school toilet cubicle while pretending to be a police officer.
Norgate pulled down a four-year-old’s underwear, grabbed the boy’s penis and pulled back the foreskin.
This was witnessed by a five-year-old who Norgate next targeted.
Norgate pleaded guilty to taking a child under 12 for immoral purposes, two counts of attempted indecent treatment of a child, indecent treatment of a child, three counts of trespass, public nuisance, breach of bail, unlawful possession of a weapon and improper use of an emergency call service.
In March this year, a Gladstone court sentenced him to four years’ jail but was released immediately after serving 406 days.
The Brisbane community was outraged when Norgate was discovered living across the road from Yeronga Primary School.
Video emerged just last month of the convicted sex offender being punched in the head at a Brisbane area transit centre, allegedly by vigilantes.
Jason Daron Mizner
Former yoga teacher Jason Daron Mizner filmed himself raping a two-year-old girl leading a judge to describe his acts in the footage as so “evil” she battled to get them out of her head.
In 2018, Mizner was sentenced to 19 years’ jail after pleading guilty to 65 child sex offences, including more than 30 counts of rape, and videotaping the assaults.
A Brisbane court was told how he repeatedly assaulted the baby, who the court heard was still in nappies, over three months at a Gold Coast home in the early 2000s.
The horrors of his offending were revealed when Mizner went on holiday to Thailand and the girl’s mother found his recordings, which showed the baby crying for help and trying to escape.
There were also detailed notes on how to carry out a rape and indications he was attempting to set up a paedophile ring.
By the time the material was found, he had decided to stay in Thailand, befriending a local woman and had begun to sexually assault her baby daughter.
He served 11 years of a 35-year jail sentence in a Thai prison for the shocking acts on the second child before being arrested on his return to Brisbane, where he was later sentenced to 19 years’ jail.
Last year the Queensland Court of Appeal denied his request to reduce his prison sentence.
Mizner cannot apply for parole until 2031.
Kye John Tanson
Children’s photographer Kye John Tanson was described as a “master manipulator” and “committed paedophile” for the way he befriended single parents at support groups so he could sexually abuse their kids.
In June last year, Tanson was sentenced to 19 years’ jail after pleading guilty to more than 60 child sex offences, including 11 counts of rape against 15 children, who were aged as young as nine.
A Brisbane court was told that Tanson used family friends and their children to carry out his own “sick purposes” at Brisbane and other areas of south east Queensland over 20 years.
After having his own child, Tanson began attending a support group for “parents without partners” at a North Brisbane library and joined board game meets.
He regularly held sleepovers where he would get young children drunk then digitally rape them.
His offending peaked in 2013, when he targeted a random 13-year-old girl on the internet and asked her to model for photographs before drugging her with sleeping pills and anally raping her while she was handcuffed to a bed.
As a serious violent offender, Tanson will have to serve 80 per cent of his sentence before being eligible for release.
Jacob Michael Smith
Convicted, appealing conviction
Violent career criminal Jacob Michael Smith was convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl just after he used a white sheet to murder her mother.
In the early hours of August 26, 2014, Jacob Michael Smith attacked the mother as she slept on a mattress alongside her two ill daughters in the living room of their Norman Park home.
He smothered and strangled the mother then took the girl to her mother’s bed and raped her as her younger sister slept beside their murdered mum.
In 2018, Smith pleaded guilty to rape, attempted rape, assault and stealing offences midway through his murder trial.
He was sentenced to life in jail for murder, and concurrent jail terms of eight years for the rape, three for the attempted rape and 12 months’ jail for the assault.
Smith is currently appealing his murder conviction in the Queensland Court of Appeal.
Geoffrey Robert Dobbs
Dubbed “Australia’s worst paedophile”, Geoffrey Robert Dobbs, sexually abused 62 young girls over three decades and videotaped some of them in his Brisbane home.
The former Boys Brigade leader and Sunday school teacher, molested the girls and filmed them from a ceiling spy-hole, sometimes telling his victims to smile as he assaulted them.
Dobbs came to police attention after he took a jammed video cassette to a repair shop and a technician noticed footage of him having sex with a girl.
In 2003, Dobbs was given a never-to-be-released prison term after pleading guilty to more than 100 offences involving the sexual mistreatment of children, committed over almost 30 years.
Five years ago, a judge lifted his indefinite sentence and substituted concurrent 15-year sentences after a psychiatrist reported that Dobbs was now of moderate to low risk of reoffending.
The ending of his indefinite sentence means Dobbs can apply for parole.
Trent Jordan Thorburn
Trent Jordan Thorburn was sentenced to four years’ jail after committing incest against his 12-year-old foster sister Tiahleigh Palmer before she was murdered.
During his sentencing hearing for the schoolgirl’s murder, the court heard his father Rick Thorburn killed Tiahleigh in 2015 after discovering Trent, then aged 18, had sex with her.
The court was told Trent feared the 12-year-old may have been pregnant.
In 2017, Trent pleaded guilty to incest, attempting to pervert the course of justice and two counts of perjury for his efforts to steer police away from his family after Tiahleigh’s murder.
He was released in January 2018 after serving 16 months of his jail term and caused outrage when he was found using the dating app Tinder.
Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentence
While behind bars for the murder of Logan schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer, killer Rick Thorburn confessed to sexually abusing two young girls who attended family day care at his house.
Thorburn, who was handed a life sentenced for the murder of his 12-year-old foster daughter, pleaded guilty in November last year to a raft of sexual offences against two girls aged under 12.
The charges included rape, attempted rape and 10 counts of indecent treatment of a child.
The offences occurred several years ago at the family home at Chambers Flat, where Thorburn’s wife Julene Thorburn operated a family day care business.
He will be sentenced at a later date.
Douglas Brian Jackway
Child rapist Douglas Brian Jackway is often described as one of Queensland’s worst prisoners and he has repeatedly lost bids for freedom because he is seen as a “high risk” of reoffending.
Jackway is behind bars for his horrific crimes against children which included the abduction and rape of a 10-year-old boy and a separate rape of a nine-year-old girl.
He has spent all but four months of his adult life in jail, including at Brisbane’s Wolston Correctional Centre, for violent sexual offences against children.
In October last year, Jackway lost his sixth application to be released from prison after a court ruled the community could not be adequately protected from him.
During the hearing, the court heard Jackway had committed 113 prison violations over the past 15 years but was showing a “marked improvement in his behaviour”.
Dennis Raymond Ferguson
Dennis Ferguson was often described as Australia’s most hated man for his heinous crimes against children.
Ferguson served 14 years in jail in Queensland for the abduction and sexual assault of three young children, aged 6, 7 and 8, in a Brisbane motel in 1987.
Ferguson and his then lover, Alexandria George Brookes, abducted two boys and a girl from Sydney and flew them to Brisbane in July 1987 where they abused them in them in an Ascot motel.
Ferguson was released from jail in January 2003 and despite attempts to settle in Ipswich, Logan and Murgon, residents drove him out with threats and abuse.
Public hatred for Ferguson was so intense that it lead to a change in law in Queensland allowing trial by judge – which was an acknowledgment that no jury could possibly give Ferguson a fair hearing.
He lived at an undisclosed location in Sydney until his death in 2012.
*For 24-hour support phone Queensland’s DVConnect on 1800 811 811 or MensLine on 1800 600 636, NSW’s Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).
* If your child or someone you know has disclosed, you can also contact Bravehearts on 1800 272 831.
Originally published as Brisbane’s child sex offenders and their vile crimes revealed