AFL hopeful’s vile taunts to victims

An AFL hopeful who sexually assaulted several women during a horrifying spree in Melbourne’s inner suburbs laughed at one of his victims.

An aspiring AFL player sexually assaulted multiple women in terrifying attacks, including one victim who had just put her key into her front door.

Kataha Siwee was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty in the Victorian County Court to five counts of sexual assault and one of attempted sexual assault in April 2019.

“These were random assaults on lone women in the street, at night in inner Melbourne,” Judge Wendy Wilmoth said during sentencing.

Siwee was in Australia on a three-month tourism visa as part of an AFL program for Papua New Guinea residents when he attacked the women in Richmond and Abbotsford.

He attacked a 30-year-old woman after she finished work and was walking along Lord Street at Richmond about 10.30pm on April 5, the court heard.

He grabbed her breast and when the shocked woman asked what he was doing, Siwee laughed and said “sorry”.

Just nine days later, he attacked five women in the early hours of April 14 in a series of escalating incidents, the court heard.

His first victim that night was a 35-year-old cyclist, who stopped to check a text message on Nicholson Street at Abbotsford about 1.20am.

He grabbed the bike’s front handle bar and put her in a bear hug before he “aggressively groped” her breast.

She was able to fight him off and cycled away, before she hid in a front yard and called her friend.

The victim was “crying, distressed and scared”, Judge Wilmoth said.

About 25 minutes later, he grabbed under the dress of a 39-year-old woman as she waited for a taxi at nearby Burnley Street.

He followed another woman for about 450m to her Richmond home at 3.20am and grabbed her from behind as she put her key in her front door.

“Hey baby,” Siwee said to her before he grabbed her breast. Her screams scared him off, the court heard.

His next attack was at 5am where he grabbed a 28-year-old in a “bear hug”.

Another woman heard the victim’s screams and rushed to her aid as the aspiring footballer fled.

Siwee’s final terrifying assault was 20 minutes later when he pushed a 35-year-old woman to the ground and pulled up her dress and shirt.

She tried to fight him off with her handbag but he pushed his hands down her underwear and offered to pay her for sex, the court heard.

A good Samaritan heard the woman’s screams and ran to help — and even chased Siwee before returning to the victim.

When he was arrested, Siwee said he had been drunk and had no memory of the assaults, despite them happening on separate days.

The judge said while they were spontaneous acts Siwee had “some sort of plan” for the April 14 assaults.

“You repeated the offending and escalating the seriousness of what you were doing, knowing it was wrong,” Judge Wilmoth said.

She labelled his crimes “despicable” but noted he pleaded guilty at an early stage and spared his victims a trial.

Siwee had been playing football with the local team at Euroa when he attacked the six women.

The aspiring AFL player was sponsored to play in the country by Scott Reid, who ran the Papua New Guinea program for the league.

Judge Wilmoth sentenced Siwee to 23 months in prison, but he was immediately released into immigration detention due to time already served and will be deported.

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