Sadistic banker inflicts 23-day torture terror

A "SADISTIC Brisbane bank worker is facing the prospect of life in prison for torturing a woman for three weeks by setting her alight, then stabbing her in the head with a screwdriver - leaving her at the "brink of death" with her face infested with maggots.

Nicholas John Crilley, 34, a former Commonwealth Bank staffer from Bulimba, appeared in the District Court in Brisbane today via video-link from prison, where prosecutor Sandra Cupina asked Judge Anthony Rafter to sentence him to the maximum sentence of life for 55 serious indictable offences.

The charges include assault, torture, rape and deprivation of liberty over the attack of the woman who was only 21 years old when she was tortured over 23 days in June 2017 at his Bulimba townhouse.

Nicholas John Crilley.
Nicholas John Crilley.

The humiliating torture included inviting her to choose how she wished to die - being shot or in a car crash.

He also burned her body with a cigarette lighter, acetone and boiling water, starving her, and forcing her to eat her own vomit and sleep on the floor or outside.

He boasted to a friend: "I've pummelled her so hard … she cant talk anymore".

She was then "hidden" by him for five days at the Tower Mill Metro hotel on Wickham Terrace in Spring Hill where the beatings continued until her upper lip detached from her face.

Her face was "degloved" of skin, 46 per cent of her body was burned including some full-thickness burns, and several bones in her face were broken, as well as her sternum, Ms Cupina told the court.

Ms Cupina submitted that the sustained nature of the vicious and brutal violence was so grave that Crilley deserved the maximum sentence for rape, which is life in prison.

She was brought "to the brink of death" with "almost unimaginable" pain and trauma, Ms Cupina said.

"He increased and escalated the methods he was using to harm her, boiling water then acetone then setting her on fire," Ms Cupina said.

She was found barely alive in Crilley's Bulimba townhouse on July 2, 2017 with injuries were so bad that the police's "initial investigative theory was the victim had been involved in an explosion", according to a court brief tendered during an earlier bail hearing for Crilley's flatmate, business partner and co-accused Jeremy Harris, 43, a mortgage broker and former professional soccer player, formerly of Bulimba.

Police who found her initially thought she was dead, until she groaned, Ms Cupina said.

She was "attached to a bed" in the bottom floor of the townhouse, she said.

Harris, who has been charged with six counts including torture, deprivation of liberty and acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm, also had his case mentioned yesterday in court.

He has not entered a plea but Ms Cupina told the court today that discussions with Harris' legal team are continuing with a hope that the charges can be resolved without going to trial.

Ms Cupina told the court that Crilley subjected the woman to "physical, psychological and sadistic violence" between June 11 and July 3, 2017 and told her he wanted to "disfigure her face" and break her jaw.

While bashing her, Crilley called her a slut, then took video recording and photographs of her injuries, Ms Cupina told the court.

Court documents reveal the woman had extensive burns to her body, a hole in the side of her head "most likely caused by a screwdriver or similar", a large cut to her head, facial wounds, chemical burns inside her throat, broken nose, broken eye socket, broken sternum, broken ribs and cheek and inflamed lungs.

Metro Hotel Mill Tower in Spring Hill, Brisbane Picture: Supplied
Metro Hotel Mill Tower in Spring Hill, Brisbane Picture: Supplied

The brave woman, who spent 30 minutes reading an emotional victim impact statement in court today, spent weeks in Royal Brisbane and Womens' Hospital including 10 days in a critical condition in an induced coma with head-to-toe chemical burns.

Reconstructive surgery and skin grafts were needed to fix her wounds and the top of one of her fingers was amputated, Ms Cupina told the court.

Had she not been hospitalised she would have died within days, Ms Cupina said.

She remains badly disfigured with burns clearly visible on her legs and face, but has made a remarkable recovery.

The woman told the court that her torture was "humiliating and depraved", she nearly died and had been left with her "whole world destroyed".

She said it is devastating when strangers look at her like she is a "monster" and she feels "nobody will ever want to be my friend, my lover or employ me again".

She had to learn how to walk again and endured "painful, exhausting and terrifying" medical treatments and therapy, has lost most of her hair and some of her teeth - which she swallowed while being bashed. She faces the prospect of partial blindness and is forced to wear a wig.

She faces daily pain with tingling nerve pain from her burns and must endure further surgery in coming years to repair her shattered nose.

Crilley wrote her a letter of apology for his actions, saying he was taking the drug ice at the time.

Crilley's defence barrister Malcolm Harrison told the court that during the "depraved" torture of the woman Crilley believed she had been involved in a drive-by shooting of his home, a belief which Mr Harrison said was "totally baseless".

Crilley called an ambulance anonymously on July 2, 2017 and fled the home allowing paramedics to take the woman to hospital.

Crilley is now studying a degree in business while behind bars.

Judge Rafter has adjourned the case until next week to consider the sentence he will impose on Crilley.

Originally published as 'Brink of death': Sadistic banker inflicts 23-day torture terror

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