Real Life

REAL LIFE: I escaped a monster and helped uncover his wicked crimes

How could anyone consider releasing this monster who'd openly admitted to hating women?

By Take 5 team

Justine Woosnam, 49, Canterbury, NZ shares her true terrifying story;

Deciding I'd done enough work for the day, I stepped back from the easel and grabbed my stuff.
As a graphic designer, I worked from home painting T-shirt designs.
It was a job that had its advantages – especially when there was a beach close by.
By now it was 5pm and I needed some fresh sea air.
As I approached the car park, I spotted a huge, scruffy man in a flanno shirt leaning against a green Mitsubishi Sigma.
He was wearing sunnies, had a mullet and was smoking.
For some reason, the sight of him unnerved me. So instead of walking past him, I detoured to the left, following a path over the sand dunes.
As I made my way along it the man suddenly appeared out of nowhere, blocking me.
"You scared me!" I laughed nervously.
Instead of stepping aside, his meaty arm shot out and grabbed me by the throat.
He punched me in the face repeatedly.
My head snapped back and my sunnies flew off.
I tried to pull my hands free
Then he grabbed my top and ripped it away, along with my bra.
He's going to rape me, I thought, as he grabbed my wrists and dragged me to the carpark.
Digging my heels into the sand, I tried to pull my hands free and fight back.
But this monster was massive, well over 182cm and weighed at least twice my 60kg.
"Get in the car or I'll kill you," he snarled. "I've got a gun in the boot."
His voice dripped with hatred and contempt.
Shoving me into the passenger seat, he locked the door and then got in himself.
As we shot out of the carpark, he gripped the waist band of my shorts so I couldn't escape.
Knowing what he had planned, I frantically managed to unlock my door as we pulled onto the main road.
Seeing what I'd done, the man wrapped his left arm around my neck and held me in a crushing headlock.
His sour body odour filled my nostrils.
But in the split second he released his grip to change gears, I quickly thrust open the door and threw myself out of the car.
Me now - I'm terrified this monster could be released
As I hit the road, I remembered to roll.
When I stopped, I opened my eyes, looked up and saw the brake lights of the car come on as he slammed to a halt.
He's coming back for me, I thought in horror.
Sprinting to the nearest house, I screamed for help.
Nobody was home.
My heart felt like it was beating out of my chest when, suddenly, a white ute came down the road.
"Help me!" I screamed. "I've just been attacked."
Two women got out of the ute and ushered me in.
Topless, smothered in blood with gravel rash and bruises, I looked a state.
They took me to a nearby home and called the police.
I was still shaking when the officers arrived.
As I described what had happened to me to a detective, I looked down at my trembling hands and recoiled.
I was wearing a woven silver band on the middle finger of my right hand.
"I've got his ring!" I said.
His ring fell onto my finger in the struggle
Incredibly, as I'd tried to escape the clamp he had on my wrist and hands, the ring must have slipped off his finger onto mine.
The detective was delighted.
In hospital, Mum and my sister, Ingrid, came to see me.
"Did he rape you?" Ingrid shuddered.
"No, I got away," I replied.
I still couldn't believe how close I'd come.
Thanks to the ring, police arrested a man in his twenties, David Ronald Thompson.
He was known to them as he'd attacked other women too.
I went to his hearing, where he pleaded guilty to a series of assaults.
"I want to look him in the eye so he knows I'm not scared," I told Mum.
In court, he didn't look half as intimidating. I stared at him, but he only briefly looked up then turned his head.
He was convicted of aggravated sexual penetration, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, kidnapping, deprivation of liberty, burglary and stealing a motor vehicle.
News articles from the time of the hearing and conviction
News articles from the time of the hearing and conviction
I learned that he'd assaulted three women and a 13-year-old girl.
"I hate women," he'd told the terrified teen as he raped her.
Thompson was sentenced to 15 years in jail. I was pleased with the result.
Shockingly, a police officer told me he had been charged with murder, too.
Years earlier, Hilda Fry, an 87-year-old woman, had been stabbed to death in her bed.
The case was never solved, though Thompson had been questioned.
After the silver ring led to his arrest for the assault on me, detectives had interviewed him again.
"This time he confessed to the murder," the officer told me.
Thompson had been burgling Hilda's house when she woke and screamed.
He killed her before she could raise the alarm.
The news made me realise just what he'd been capable of and that I didn't just escape being raped – he might have killed me, too.
I went on to work with animals.
After admitting Hilda's murder, he was jailed for life with a minimum of 14 years to be served with his other sentence.
The judge said Thompson was a danger to women.
Recently, 10 years after Thompson's conviction, I received a letter saying his case was going before the prisoner review board later this year.
"I can't believe this," I said to Mum.
How could anyone consider releasing this monster who'd openly admitted to hating women?
I fear his anger will only have intensified after all these years behind bars.
People say Thompson's a predator, but they're wrong.
He's worse than that – he's pure evil and it terrifies me that, one day soon, he could be a free man.

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