A former executive chef for Pegasus Hotel Apartments in Melbourne CBD on Tuesday pleaded guilty to rape by compelling sexual penetration.

Warning: This story has details of multiple sexual assaults, which might be distressing to some readers. 

Thirty-five-year-old Michael ‘Mick’ Stafford had worked for Pegasus Hotel Apartments since 2014, grew up in Blackburn and was considered a “misfit” at school, a County court had heard. The court found him guilty on charges of rape and attempted rape.

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The first of two attacks took place at a Stafford apartment in early 2017, at the end of a night out. His 27-year-old victim had fallen asleep in the living room of his apartment. The victim would later wake up in Stafford’s bed, with his pants removed.

As reported by The Herald Sun, the court was told how the victim woke up, though still in shock, pretending to be asleep for “what felt like five minutes” while Stafford continued to commit oral and other sexual acts on the victim.

The 27-year-old had not consented, and when he attempted to move away from Stafford, was pinned down, the court was told. Leaving the apartment, a short time after, the victim reported the crime to police the following morning.

When interviewed by police, Stafford had denied the allegations levelled against him, saying he had slept in the bed with the victim. He claimed he never had any “sexual interaction”. However, DNA evidence proved otherwise.

During a pretext call between the victim and Stafford set up by investigators, Stafford initially claimed he didn’t know what the victim was “talking about” but followed up by saying that he “didn’t mean to do it”.

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“I don’t know what the fuck man, I hope your OK, it’s really not my thing to do,” Stafford said in a separate message about five minutes after the call, the Herald Sun has reported.

With Stafford allowed to continue to move about the community, it was only three months later that he committed a second sickening and ultimately predatory attack in Fitzroy, in Melbourne’s inner north.

This time, Stafford allegedly attempted to digitally rape and perform other non-consensual sexual acts on the second victim. This second incident wasn’t reported to police until about 10 months later, the court was told. Stafford was ultimately found guilty on July 14, 2021.

Stafford will face sentencing on September 2, 2021.

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