The state’s highest court has described the failure by police to investigate for almost a decade the brutal bashing of a woman by her boyfriend as “unparalleled”.
Court of Appeal Justice David Ashley criticised police for not arresting David Curypko until 2012 after there had been a change of investigators in the case.
The victim was 18 when attacked by Curypko, her then boyfriend, in September 1989 at their Geelong home two weeks after she had given birth to their daughter.
She did not go to the police until 2003 because she had been too traumatised and terrified.
Curypko, now 44, was not interviewed by police until August 2012 and not charged until early 2013.
He was jailed in March this year for five years with a non-parole period of two and a half years after pleading guilty to intentionally causing serious injury, but appealed against his sentence.
Justice Ashley said the victim was attacked on September 17, 1989, when she went to sit on Curypko’s lap and he became angry.
Curypko threw the victim to the ground, causing her head to hit a stereo in the room. He then flung her on her back and hit her several times to the head and body, breaking her jaw.
The victim’s face became swollen from the punches and when Curypko allowed her to have a cigarette, she could not draw back on it.
During the 10-hour ordeal, the victim was hit with a baseball bat, a vacuum cleaner pole and had vases smashed over her head.
Curypko also threw a glass table at the victim which hit her in the head.
He pushed her head into the concrete walls of the house.
She was kicked with steel capped boots. Curypko told the victim she was nothing. He forced her head into the toilet bowl, repeatedly pushing her head in and out of the water.
Curypko then removed a serrated knife from a knife block and put his arm across the victim’s body so she could not move.
He heated the end of the knife with a cigarette lighter until it was glowing.
He placed the knife against her neck and she could smell her flesh burning as he dragged it across her neck.
Curypko also stabbed the victim in the leg with a hypodermic syringe.
“Such delay, in a case not involving sexual offending (particularly sexual offending committed against a young person), or not being the consequence of late-emerging evidence (for instance, recently-obtained DNA evidence linking a person with an unsolved crime committed many years ago) is, in my experience, quite exceptional,” Justice Ashley said.
“Moreover, it is the fact that the complainant continued to press the matter – as is reflected by the fact that she made five statements to police over the ten-year period.
“Delay in that period was at odds with her attempt to invoke the criminal justice system. Regrettably, the police were, for one reason or another, dilatory in pursuing the matter.”
During the attack, the couple’s baby was screaming to be fed but Curypko smashed the girl’s pre-made bottles.
When Curypko left for work at 9am the next day, the victim was admitted to Geelong Hospital where she stayed for four days.
She lost six teeth in the attack and to this day can only eat food in small pieces as her jaw seizes up from time to time and she is unable to move it.
Justice Ashley said the victim had been left with “feelings of unworthiness, sadness, of being destroyed, of being constantly haunted by the past”.
“The outstanding features of the matter were first, the savagery and duration of the attack encompassed within the single charge; and second, the very great delay, in a case of this kind, in the matter being brought before a court. Within my experience, both features were unparalleled.”
Justice Ashley and Justice Marcia Neave dismissed Curypko’s appeal.
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