The headstone of Mary’s sister, who took her own life in 2014.
The headstone of Mary’s sister, who took her own life in 2014.

Sister speaks after rapist is sentenced for seven years

MARY thought this day would never come.

But the moment she was told her sister's rapist was sentenced to seven years behind bars, she couldn't help but let out a flood of emotions.

Though Mary was happy with the news, she said it never took long for reality to sink in that her little sister wasn't with her anymore.

Her sister, a mother of five who we have chosen not to identify, was brutally bashed and raped by Maurice Edward Hayden on December 12, 2013, at Queens Park in Rockhampton.

Hayden faced Rockhampton District Court yesterday charged with one count of sexual assault while armed and one count of rape.

It was 5.30pm when the 31-year-old woman was parked in a vehicle with her partner when Hayden approached and asked for money.

The court heard the woman gave him $5 and he left.

A short time later she went to the disabled toilets, the door was wide open so she turned to lock it, then noticed Hayden was already inside.

The woman went to the toilet to dispose of a needle and Hayden asked her for drugs.

The court heard Hayden then strangled her so she couldn't scream, grabbed the needle and began to stab her before sexually assaulting her.

The woman broke free, but Hayden hit her, causing her to fall and hit her head on the toilet seat, knocking her unconscious for a short time.

When Hayden fled, the woman's partner tackled him, but Hayden broke free and ran to the river. When police tracked Hayden down he was heavily intoxicated and told police he did "nothing to that chick across the river."

He was arrested and has been in custody since.

Hayden's defence told the court he couldn't remember the incident, but didn't deny the allegations against him.

The assault took its toll on Mary's sister who tragically died in 2014 after taking her own life months after the violent assault.

"What he did to her pushed her over the edge," she said.

Mary's voice trembles and tears flow as she describes her sister, who had a "beautiful smile and big blue eyes".

"She was trying to get her life on track," she said.

Mary's sister had moved to Mt Morgan, bought a house and was trying to overcome an addiction to morphine which resulted after a car crash.

Despite her troubles, Mary said her sister would help anyone in need and trusted everyone.

Mary, who now resides in Brisbane, and her sister grew up in North Rockhampton and had a close relationship as kids.

She said their relationship was a bit rocky as adults and the last time she saw her they had fought.

"I had this strange feeling that I wasn't going to see her again; I feel so lost without her," she said.

"I'll be doing something and I'll think of my sister and it really hits me (that she is gone) and it takes my breath away.

"I feel empty and lost; she was my little sister and I'm sad for her children."

Mary is happy to hear that justice has been done, but her sister's death over the incident is still heartbreaking.

"My heart sinks when I wake up knowing my sister isn't here," she said.

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