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Serial sex pest David Gilchrist escapes prison after charged with Brisbane assault

A serial sex pest who spent 14 years in jail for assaulting and exposing himself to several women in the 1990s will not spend any more time in custody after he was charged with attacking another young woman during his reign of terror.

David Kenneth Gilchrist, 51, pleaded guilty to breaking into a 33-year-old woman’s New Farm home and sexually abusing her in the early hours of January 1, 1997. 

He was sentenced to three years jail, immediately suspended, on Monday at Brisbane District Court.

Gilchrist left the court with his new girlfriend, who has stood by him throughout the entire process.

In a character reference she told the court he was a ‘changed man’ and said he had explained his ‘past life very early on’ in their relationship. 

Gilchrist climbed in to the woman’s room from her open window, disconnected her phone line before waking her up with an eight inch knife to her throat, the court heard. 

David Kenneth Gilchrist, 51, smirked as he made his way out of court on Monday after his sentence was suspended

David Kenneth Gilchrist, 51, smirked as he made his way out of court on Monday after his sentence was suspended

Gilchrist left the court with his new girlfriend (pictured), who has stood by him throughout the entire process. In a character reference she told the court he was a 'changed man' and said he had explained his 'past life very early on' in their relationship

Gilchrist left the court with his new girlfriend (pictured), who has stood by him throughout the entire process. In a character reference she told the court he was a ‘changed man’ and said he had explained his ‘past life very early on’ in their relationship

He instructed her to strip naked, but the woman, who prosecutors say is still scarred by the attack, attempted to jump out the window and scream for help.

Gilchrist grabbed her by her hair and dragged her back inside the room, telling her that was ‘a stupid thing to do’ before threatening to kill her, according to the agreed facts. 

He straddled the young woman, choked her with one hand while the other held the blade against her throat, and instructed her to perform oral sex on him.

When the sexual assault concluded, Gilchrist asked if she would scream before showing her he was wearing gloves so police would not be able to find fingerprints if she were to report the crime.

After he left her home, the woman proceeded to tell a friend of the assault and then the police. 

Police later found a knife in a neighbour’s garden. 

In the months to follow the attack, Gilchrist was arrested and sentenced for several other sexually charged crimes in the region.

Gilchrist (left with his lawyer, right) was sentenced to three years jail, immediately suspended, on Monday at Brisbane District Court

Gilchrist (left with his lawyer, right) was sentenced to three years jail, immediately suspended, on Monday at Brisbane District Court

Gilchrist was arrested and sentenced for several other sexually charged crimes in the region in 1997. He spent 14 years in custody

Gilchrist was arrested and sentenced for several other sexually charged crimes in the region in 1997. He spent 14 years in custody

In 1995, Gilchrist broke into a home and forced a female resident to perform sex acts while holding a knife to her throat. 

Two years later, armed with a knife, Gilchrist abducted an 18-year-old woman at Caboolture train station.

He dragged her to a secluded area, removed her clothing and instructed her to ‘get to her knees’, the court heard. The young woman was forced to perform oral sex on Gilchrist, and he later attempted to perform a sex act on her.  

In total, Gilchrist served 14 years in prison for the crimes, and was released on the dangerous prisoners sexual offenders act. 

He spent a further five years on that registry, undergoing mandatory supervision as part of his release requirements.

In 2018, the New Farm case was reopened, and DNA swabs taken from the victim’s mouth and face were linked to Gilchrist.

When police arrived at his home and arrested him, Gilchrist admitted that he ‘couldn’t remember’ if he had actually committed the crimes he was accused of.

His lawyer told the court that he admitted ‘it sounds like me, and I was in the area’, but that he had performed several burglaries at the time and was drinking heavily.

In spite of the seriousness of the crimes – which was acknowledged in the court – Gilchrist will not spend another day in jail.

Gilchrist is now in a relationship and has had stable work for seven years, his lawyer said while arguing that he should not spend any more time in prison

Gilchrist is now in a relationship and has had stable work for seven years, his lawyer said while arguing that he should not spend any more time in prison

Instead, he was sentenced to XXXX. 

The defence argued that anything further would be manifestly excessive given the custodial sentence already imposed for previous offending about the same time. 

Three character references, one from Gilchrist’s new girlfriend and two from his long term employers were also submitted to the court, as was a psychological report. 

The report concluded that Gilchrist had excellent rehabilitative prospects, while his legal team argued that he had already demonstrated his rehabilitation.

Gilchrist has a stable job of seven years, and has not been convicted of any crimes of a sexual nature since the late ’90s, the court heard.

Since the late ’90s, he had spent 14 years in custody and a further five under the dangerous prisoners sexual offenders act. 

Prior to any custodial sentences, Gilchrist had also been found guilty of groping two women in 1986.

Prior to any custodial sentences, Gilchrist had also been found guilty of groping two women in 1986

Prior to any custodial sentences, Gilchrist had also been found guilty of groping two women in 1986

He told the court at the time it was ‘just impulse’ and that he ‘felt like it’. One month later, he followed a nurse into a room at Gladstone Hospital and exposed himself to her, later telling the court he hoped to ‘ask her for sex’.

The defence on Monday argued that any more severe punishment could be ‘crushing’ for Gilchrist. 

‘A crushing penalty does not necessarily mean it is excessively long,’ the court heard.

‘But it is a sentence which would provoke a feeling of helplessness in Mr Gilchrist. It is my submission that there is no need for an increased punishment.’

The judge adjourned the matter for a two hour break after hearing both arguments, before ultimately agreeing Gilchrist should not spend any more time behind bars.

He was sentenced to three years jail for the the charge of aggrivated indecent assault, but the entire sentence was suspended.

For two other counts of deprivation of liberty and break and enter, he was sentenced to two years and nine months, to be served concurrently.

‘Your offending is extremely serious… in light of the delay, the sentence will be wholly suspended,’ she said. 

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