Charlie Michael Edward Caire, the perpetrator of a sickening attack on an elderly South Australian man, who he had lured on Grindr, has been given little more than a slap on the wrists this week. Caire will walk free from prison after district court judge Liesl Chapman handed the 21-year-old a suspended sentence.
Warning: The story has details that some readers may find distressing.
The attack, which Star Observer reported last month, saw the victim lured through a fake Grindr account set up by Caire. The elderly man was taken to a Murray Bridge house and then tortured by what was described as 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.
Victim Thought He Would Die
The victim was also injected with a needle that he was made to believe contained AIDS, and was told “there’d be consequences” if he did not hand over $5,000 in cash.
Chapman described the frenzied attack as having “caused the victim to bleed on the mattress and floor.”
“The victim has provided a victim impact statement where he describes experiencing the most sustained and intense period of physical pain and fear of those hours of imprisonment.”
Chapman went on to add that the victim was so scared, he thought he might die.
Caire, who was high on methamphetamine at the time and had not slept in six weeks, alleged that the victim was believed to have sexually assaulted his friends’ younger brother. This allegation has not been brought to the police or reported.
In the months before the attack Caire, had experienced the death of his father, loss of his job, and the breakdown of a long-term relationship, the judge noted.
Judge Calls Accused ‘Remarkable’ Young Man
Despite Caire having plead guilty to numerous offences, including false imprisonment, aggravated blackmail and aggravated assault, Chapman weighed up what was described as ‘great adversity’ in his life when handing down just five-years-and-six-months in prison with a non-parole period of two years and 10 months, backdated to when Caire was first taken into custody, in February 2020.
“You started training to become a youth worker because you wanted to protect children. Despite all the adversity in your life, you were managing very well, you were doing more than keeping your head above water, you were making positive contributions to the community and were taking positive steps along a clearly defined path.”
Perhaps if the charges laid against Caire in the first instance were upgraded or of greater severity, then he might have not gotten away so lightly. Chapman pointed out, this was the accused’s first offence, and he stood a better chance of being rehabilitated within the community whilst under supervision. Caire’s lawyers had not asked for a suspended sentence.
Currently in custody at Mount Gambier Prison, Caire is to be released on Wednesday next week, when he will sign a three-year good behaviour bond at the District Court in Adelaide.
If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.
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