Trial begins for yachtie accused of raping hired help

A QUEENSLAND man who is facing trial for luring a young woman to his boat under the guise of an adventure on the high seas has pleaded not guilty to raping and sexually assaulting her.

John Collins, 76, faced Brisbane District Court charged with three counts of rape and one of sexual assault stemming from events in 1986 aboard his yacht.

Judge Terence Martin told the jury before the trial got underway on Monday that they must not in any way take it upon themselves to investigate the case or use the internet to investigate those who are involved in the trial.

Crown prosecutor David Nardone told the court the woman, who cannot be named, was 19 when she met Collins after she answered a newspaper advertisement he placed seeking help with a small child aboard the yacht.

He said the advertisement promised an adventure in return for some help with minor duties and company aboard the yacht.

"The advertisement said the yacht would be travelling from the Sunshine Coast to the Whitsundays," Mr Nardone said.

"She applied and was offered the job believing it would be a once in a lifetime adventure.

"But nothing could have been further from the truth."

Mr Nardone said it was shortly after the yacht had set sail from a Sunshine Coast marina the woman's nightmare started.

He said she was raped three times and sexually assaulted while the yacht made its way to the Whitsundays via Bundaberg.

"Collins said he would harm her parents if she did not do as he said.

"He told her that he knew bad people that could make it happen."

Mr Nardone told the court that the woman managed to escape from Collins when the yacht reached Hamilton Island.

He said she immediately called her parents who arranged a bus ticket back to the Sunshine Coast.

"She told them what had happened aboard the yacht.

"She lived with what occurred aboard that yacht for more than two decades before she reported it in 2006 to police."

The trial, expected to last three days, continues.


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