(L-R) Jack Cowton and Nicholas Morse.
(L-R) Jack Cowton and Nicholas Morse.

Wrist slap for gun-wielding sex attacker's degrading acts

A man convicted of sexually assaulting a nurse at gunpoint has been ordered to serve just four months in prison while his co-accused has escaped jail time altogether.

Nicholas Morse and Jack Cowton, both 23, fronted Melbourne County Court today for sentencing over their attack on a nurse in July 2017.

The pair was found guilty after a jury trial over the incident.

The court had heard the woman visited Morse's home in Redan with his sister and once there, was threatened with a sawn-off shotgun and sexually assaulted in a bathroom.

Morse held the gun centimetres from his 25-year-old victim's ribs, also squeezing her breasts and buttocks through her clothes as he forced himself on her amid a barrage of vulgar taunts.

His friend and co-offender Cowton also groped and taunted the woman.

(L-R) Jack Cowton and Nicholas Morse.
(L-R) Jack Cowton and Nicholas Morse.

A jury found Morse guilty of two counts of sexual assault and one of being armed with criminal intent.

He will serve just four months in jail and, when released, must perform 200 hours of unpaid work as part of a two-year community correction order.

Cowton was spared jail and handed a similar community correction order after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assault.

The court heard that the duo had been drinking with a third man the day of the assault, with Morse telling the victim, "I haven't had sex in a month-and-a-half".

The woman was then called names including a "b**ch" and "sl*t" and was told she had a "nice arse underneath all those clothes".

The duo played music with offensive lyrics and molested the nurse, who was told one of the men was a bikie while having the shotgun pointed at her.

 

 

Judge Howard Mason labelled the gun stunt "cheap and pathetic".

"From the moment she arrived, the victim was exposed to disgusting acts," he said.

The ordeal has left the woman humiliated and in constant fear, costing her sleep as well as her happiness and relationships, she told the court in a statement.

Morse, who will soon be a dad, has already served 14 days' pre-sentence detention. He vomited in the dock after being sentenced.

Morse was cleared by a jury of rape and using a gun with intent to rape over the same assault, but pleaded guilty to weapons charges including theft of a firearm.

 



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