Adelaide’s District Court on Tuesday heard the case of an elderly man who in February last year was lured through a fake Grindr account by a 21-year-old man high on methamphetamine to a Murray Bridge home, and was then subjected to torture by a ‘horrifying array of weaponry’ including having a gas lighter held to his head, being probed with a taser, electric drill, his arm sliced with a knife and his fingers placed between secateurs.

The 21-year-old has been identified as Charlie Michael Edward Caire who has pleaded guilty to a number of offences including aggravated assault, false imprisonment and aggravated blackmail.

Acting for Caire, Lawyer Joel Horskins claimed his client believed he was acting as a vigilante. Claiming Caire believed the victim was responsible for child abuse. Horskins also added that his client’s life had “spiralled downward” in the months before the attack and had recently experienced the death of his father and loss of his job. It is alleged Caire had blown at least $10,000 on methamphetamine in the three months leading up to the incident.

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“He had not slept for six weeks, he had barely eaten … he was in a drug frenzy, clearly not thinking at all,” Horskins told the court at the pre-sentencing hearing.

“Caire’s initial intention was to confront him to try and identify if this was the person who committed that assault,” Horskins said. “He did have in mind to teach him a lesson if it was indeed the person who had assaulted the boy.”

These allegations of child abuse were unsubstantiated with prosecutor Ben Sturm telling the District Court that the terrifying and unimaginable ordeal was “the most sustained and intense period of physical pain” the victim had ever endured.

“He was bound and blindfolded,” Sturm described, “He was punched and kicked. He says there were times during that he could not breathe. He was effectively completely helpless.”

“He was then tortured with quite a horrific array of weaponry that includes an electric drill.”

Blaming his client’s crime on his drug addiction, Horskins went on to say that “everything that could have gone wrong did and unfortunately, he turned to drugs. He still wants to make something of himself. He’s determined to not let this offending define him and nor does he wish for the childhood trauma to define him either.”

Caire, who was on a good behaviour bond at the time of the offence, is set to be sentenced by Judge Liesl Chapman next month.

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