‘Truly evil’: Camouflage rapist gets 21 years

Would-be paedophile rapist Troy Johnson was sweating bullets.

Sitting in an interview room at Wyong Police Station it was the second time in a month he was facing a grilling by detectives over child abuse allegations.

He had been on his way back to McDonalds after staff forgot to put toys in his three children's Happy Meals when he had been pulled over on the evening of July 28, 2017.

A qualified mechanic, who was working for a NBN contractor as a directional driller, knew police had one of his phones.

He was worried what they would find and had earlier confided in a supervisor at work "I'm a pervert I've got lots of stuff in there".

And this was also the time he had imagined over-and-over in his mind when he planned to "rape someone" as far back as 2009 and how he intended to "get away with it".

 

Johnson attacked a 12-year-old girl on her way to school at Narara in May, 2017 while dressed in a military-style Ghillie suit.
Johnson attacked a 12-year-old girl on her way to school at Narara in May, 2017 while dressed in a military-style Ghillie suit.

 

Detectives showed him a photo a 12-year-old girl in bushland at Narara.

He denied knowing anything about the girl or that he was familiar with Narara.

However he said he did recognise a bit of camouflaged clothing off to the side, almost out of the photograph, which to anyone else would have looked like normal leaves and sticks in that dense bush environment.

State Crime Command's Sex Crimes Squad detectives instantly knew they had their man.

After all they had taken the photo from Johnson's own phone and if he was not present when the photo was taken, how would he have known those leaves and sticks were part of a military-style camouflage outfit known as a "ghillie suit".

Johnson knew his goose was cooked.

He gave police feeble explanations; he had "very observant eyes", he was a bow hunter of 15 years, he could spot goats from a kilometre away and he could spot camouflage clothing anywhere.

The cops weren't buying it and Johnson knew it.

It was time to put his plan into action and the type 1 diabetic started complaining that he was feeling unwell and he needed to administer medication.

Police called for paramedics but by the time they arrived the then 31-year-old had injected himself with a potentially lethal dose of insulin.

Paramedics told him "if you don't receive treatment you will die".

Johnson responded "that's the whole point".

 

Johnson pleaded guilty to seven charges involving the sexual assault of the 12-year-old girl
Johnson pleaded guilty to seven charges involving the sexual assault of the 12-year-old girl

 

He was taken to hospital before being transferred to a mental health facility until he was charged a month later with multiple counts of kidnapping, aggravated indecent and sexual assault, grooming a child and attempting to use an offensive weapon.

It was the end of a three-month investigation after police formed Strike Force Garawan to uncover the man dubbed the "ghillie suit rapist".

Johnson was sentenced at Gosford District Court today to a maximum 28 years jail, with a non-parole period of 21 years.

With time already served he will be eligible for release on August 24, 2038.

He will be 52 years old.

Never before released details emerged at his sentencing which outlined how police tracked down an apparent clean skin with no criminal record and how - had it not been for an incredibly brave victim who "outwitted" him - he would have been able to carry out his sick desire to rape a schoolgirl.

In the wake of the attack on the 12-year-old who was plucked from a pathway between Carrington and Reeves streets as she walked to school at 7.40am on May 15, 2017, the close-knit community of Narara was on tenter hooks, terrified a rapist was on the loose.

There were multiple unconfirmed "sightings" and that other women had been approached but with little to go on police released a photograph of a "ghillie suit" complete with a mask, gloves and a camouflaged backpack and called for public assistance.

Meanwhile another girl, aged 11, told a teacher after a sex education program that she had been inappropriately touched by a man.

Police got Johnson in for questioning on June 28, 2017, and while he admitted he was fond of the girl and gave her preferential treatment he said she was "clingy".

When her family did not wish to pursue further legal action police took out an apprehended violence order on the girl's behalf and left it at that.

Police seized his phone and it was sent off for examination.

 

He rang a friend after the sexual assault to brag about it.
He rang a friend after the sexual assault to brag about it.

 

Johnson told an old school friend he was worried what they would find but felt pretty sure he'd deleted anything incriminating.

On July 25, 2017, officers examining the phone stumbled across Google maps images of Narara, where the path winds between dense bush between the two roads and a nearby school.

They also find two text messages on the morning the girl was attacked to Johnson's work colleagues which read: "I'm running a bit late boys, I will be a bit late".

And then they found "trophy photos" of the victim.

Suddenly Strike Force Garawan had a suspect.

Three days later they swooped on him during his McDonald's run and while he was being interviewed his wife handed into police his other phone.

Officers searched his Woongarrah home where they found camouflage clothing and other items used in the attack.

Meanwhile his brother rang police to say he had Johnson's ghillie suit at his place because they had been hunting three weeks earlier and Johnson wanted to keep it there so his wife wouldn't find out that he'd gone on the trip.

Johnson's sentencing also heard his 4WD was recorded by a Highway Patrol vehicle on Showground Rd at 9.07am on May 15, 2017, just four minutes after the school had rung Triple-0.

 

Johnson was jailed for 28 years with a minimum of 21 years.
Johnson was jailed for 28 years with a minimum of 21 years.

 

 

His mobile phone was also picked up by a mobile phone tower at Narara at the time and while he usually took pride in his appearance, Johnson had showed up late with wet patches and grass stains on his pants.

At 2.39pm that day Johnson sent a text message gloating to an old school friend who he had earlier confided in his desire to "rape someone" and how he could get away with it by overdosing on insulin should he ever get caught.

He had also told his friend he had found a "good spot because there are lots of school girls walking past".

"Dude, you will never guess what I just did, I (abducted) a schoolgirl and (assaulted her)," his text read.

The next day he sent his friend a link to a newspaper article about the assault.

What happened to the girl for about an hour while she was detained in the bushes at Narara that morning has been suppressed to prevent it causing her any further undue distress.

Similarly, her victim impact statement was also suppressed.

 

He was dressed in a camouflage outfit during the sexual assault.
He was dressed in a camouflage outfit during the sexual assault.

 

However NSW District Court Judge David Wilson said she "outwitted" him in the bushes.

"It was only through her quick thinking and bravery you did not get your way," Judge Wilson said.

And when she came to court and faced him a second time "armed only with her statement" she "maintained a psychological hold over you" again.

"You lived a double life, you were a married man living with three children while praying on other children," Judge Wilson said.

"Again (the victim) came face-to-face with evil and once again she prevailed."

Judge Wilson said Johnson had stalked the schoolgirl for weeks before carrying out his abhorrent plan to sexually assault her.

The judge said Johnson had lied to his psychiatrist after his arrest when he claimed the attack was out of character, he did not know why he had done it and blamed the devil.

Judge Wilson had warned him that because he was too cowardly to enter the witness box to express remorse and admit his pedophilic behaviour, and because of the devastating impact it had had on his victim, his jail sentence would be harsh.

As he was being led away to spend the next 19 years behind bars Johnson, who had shown no emotion or remorse during his sentencing, had a thin film of visible perspiration appearing on his closely cropped thinning hair.

Would-be paedophile rapist Johnson was again sweating bullets.