Hamilton rapist Dean Thomas Mulholland jailed for a maximum four-and-a-half years

CCTV stills of Dean Thomas Mulholland entering the laneway off Cleary Street at Hamilton.
CCTV stills of Dean Thomas Mulholland entering the laneway off Cleary Street at Hamilton.

DESPERATE to go to the toilet, a “vulnerable and innocent” 19-year-old woman wanders into a laneway off Cleary Street at Hamilton to relieve herself.

She doesn’t know it, but a predator is watching.

As the woman paces down the lane, hazard lights on a ute behind her flash and then flash again.

The predator, Dean Thomas Mulholland, 46, of Wallsend, appears next to the vehicle, glances around to see if anyone is watching and then slowly follows her down the lane.

CCTV stills of Dean Thomas Mulholland entering the laneway off Cleary Street at Hamilton.

CCTV stills of Dean Thomas Mulholland entering the laneway off Cleary Street at Hamilton.

It is 3.20am on November 19, 2017, and the young woman, who had been denied entry to a nearby hotel to use their bathroom because of the hour, is wearing a “bodysuit”, which means she essentially has to strip naked in order to relieve herself.

When she finishes, Mulholland moves in behind her, taking her by surprise, and grabs her. 

At this point the woman freezes – which Judge Roy Ellis said was understandable – and Mulholland rapes her; digitally penetrating her as she tries desperately to push his hand away. 

CCTV stills of Dean Thomas Mulholland entering the laneway off Cleary Street at Hamilton.

CCTV stills of Dean Thomas Mulholland entering the laneway off Cleary Street at Hamilton.

On Thursday, after watching CCTV footage of the events immediately prior to the “predatory” and random attack, Judge Ellis jailed Mulholland for a maximum of four-and-a-half years, with a non-parole period of two-and-a-half years.  

“You see her on the video and she is a 19-year-old girl,” Judge Ellis said. “She is just an innocent, young girl. Yes it wasn’t the wisest thing for her to do, walk down that laneway.

But that’s what innocent young people do because they don’t necessarily believe there is going to be some predator there who is going to take advantage of them.”

CCTV stills of Dean Thomas Mulholland entering the laneway off Cleary Street at Hamilton.

CCTV stills of Dean Thomas Mulholland entering the laneway off Cleary Street at Hamilton.

Judge Ellis said it was a difficult task to weigh up the need to reflect general deterrence, punishment and the protection of the community against Mulholland’s prior unblemished record, underlying mental health issues and remorse. 

“The community must be protected so that young people such as this young victim are not preyed upon by other members of our community,” he said.

DPP solicitor Kylie Henry said that, crucially, Mulholland had shown a “complete lack of insight” into his offending when being interviewed by a psychologist. 

To that, defence barrister John Fitzgerald quoted Mulholland as saying he had recounted what happened “in a way I can live with”. 

Mr Fitzgerald said Mulholland’s life was “spiraling out of control” and he had been using drugs in the lead-up to what he said was an “opportunistic” act and a “spontaneous decision” to follow the woman down the laneway. 

Less than 24 hours after he was first refused bail, Mulholland was “seriously and significantly” bashed by a group of inmates who made clear to him why they were assaulting him. 

He has since been moved into protective custody. 

The young woman did not read her victim impact statement in court on Thursday, but Judge Ellis referenced portions of it.

“The victim has said that she will not let this matter define her,” Judge Ellis said. “She will take her power back. I would encourage her to continue with that positive attitude.”

Mulholland, who pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent, will be eligible for parole in May 2020. 

Dean Thomas Mulholland.

Dean Thomas Mulholland.