Gumtree sexual predator jailed for 'despicable' abuse

·2-min read

A spoon clinking against a glass.

That was the sound a 25-year-old woman heard from another room as her new housemate laced her drink with a sedative.

The next morning she woke up in Marco Gastello's bed. He had raped her while she was unconscious.

On July 8, 2017, the woman had moved into Gastello's Melbourne apartment after seeing it advertised on Gumtree.

They played pool and started drinking that evening. She started coughing and Gastello poured her several vodka shots as he said it would "kill the bacteria in her throat".

He then laced her drink with sleeping pills while she was in the bathroom.

After consuming the drink, the woman found it difficult to walk but managed to reach her bedroom.

She woke up next to Gastello in his bed. He went to the gym and she discovered white powder inside her glass and went to police after talking to a friend.

When police arrested Gastello for the rape they found child abuse material and intimate photos of women on his devices.

Further investigations revealed he had taken photos of two women without their consent, including of a 21-year-old colleague while she was drunk in bed three years earlier.

Detectives also found intimate photos of another former housemate of Gastello taken while she was asleep in March 2017, including photos of him sexually assaulting her.

It took police three years to progress the case due to staffing changes and he was not arrested or charged until June 2020.

The two women he took non-consensual intimate photos of did not find out they existed until after Gastello's arrest.

The 44-year-old was jailed for nine years and 10 months on Thursday. He pleaded guilty to rape, sexual and indecent assault, administration of an intoxicating substance and possession of child abuse material.

Judge Marcus Dempsey said the three women were at their most vulnerable when he committed the "depraved" and "vile" sexual offending.

"Each of these women trusted you as a colleague or a housemate, your abuse of their trust is nothing short of despicable," he said.

Gastello, who has already served two years and four months of his sentence, will be eligible for parole after six years and four months.

He will be registered as a sex offender for life.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028