Guilty of attempted rape

MICHAEL Kendall was found guilty on Mondayof attempting to rape an elderly lady in her Lake Macquarie unit with the jury needing little more than an hour to arrive at its verdict.

Kendall told his mother he loved her as he was escorted from Newcastle District Court following a one-week trial that focused heavily on DNA evidence.

The Crown case also included witness accounts of what happened on the afternoon of July 7 last year and Kendall’s own version of events that included a meeting with another man.

Kendall, 26, pleaded not guilty to three charges and was convicted of two, namely aggravated break, enter and commit indecent assault and inflicting actual bodily harm with intent to rape.

No verdict was required for the back-up charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Kendall initially approached some young girls near the victim’s unit at Jewells before he knocked on the victim’s door.

He had recently been released from a rehabilitation centre for substance abuse and had decided to celebrate by drinking alcohol before he asked the victim if ‘‘Julie’’ was there, the jury heard.

The victim said no one called Julie lived there and she went outside to begin assisting Kendall before he forced her inside.

She fell on the floor and he pinned her down while he indecently assaulted her.

She screamed and scratched his face before he fled and yelled, ‘‘She attacked me, she attacked me’’.

The witnesses, including the girls, gave descriptions of Kendall and police were able to compare them with security camera footage from a nearby bottle shop he’d visited that afternoon.

When one of the witnesses did a photo identification test on a police computer he selected Kendall and another man out of 20 photos.

But crucially, Kendall’s DNA was found on the victim’s fingertips possibly underneath a fingernail from when she scratched him.

Kendall told police that after leaving the bottle shop he met a man while walking to his sister’s Jewells’ home.

He said he rolled the man two cigarettes, they shared a bottle of beer and shook hands.

His barrister argued that Kendall’s DNA could have been transferred to the man who then transferred it to the victim’s fingertips.

Kendall even admitted to deviating from his route home and to speaking to the girls near the victim’s unit, but denied he was the attacker.

He was arrested about a week after the incident at a Newcastle hostel.

He was on parole at the time for a serious assault and will be sentenced in November.


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