A Perth mother who was threatened at knifepoint by notorious paedophile Bradley Pen Dragon with her baby also in the car has described the terrifying ordeal like a “scene out of movie”.
Today in the Supreme Court, Pen Dragon was jailed for five years over the attack in Mt Lawley on the night of August 7 this year.
Mother-of-one Shannon, who does not want her surname published, had just put her sick 11-month-old daughter into her car seat after a visit to Mercy Hospital when a knife-wielding Pen Dragon climbed into her car. He then leapt across her child and put his arm across her throat.
The 38-year-old woman yelled and wrestled with Pen Dragon over the knife, cutting her fingers in the process, but managed to wrench the weapon away.
Pen Dragon, who had only been released from prison 10 weeks earlier, ran away and was caught by police an hour later, but denied any wrongdoing.
The 52-year-old child sex offender pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault with intent to rob.
Supreme Court Justice Lindy Jenkins sentenced Pen Dragon, who has spent more than half his adult life in prison in Australia and Thailand, to five years in jail.
Justice Jenkins refused to make him eligible for parole because of the seriousness of his crime and his bad record.
Pen Dragon’s lawyer, Simon Watson, told the court his client did not intend to harm the victim or steal her car and was not aware a baby was also in the vehicle when he decided to target her to steal her wallet.
Mr Watson said his long criminal history, which included a 13-year stint in a Thai prison for threatening, beating and raping three girls, was well known and he was trying in vain to find somewhere to live on the night the attack occurred.
“He was told his throat would be cut ... he was threatened that bikies would find him and have him killed,” Mr Watson said.
Mr Watson said Pen Dragon was desperate to find stable accommodation and had experienced “vigilante” behaviour in the community.
Mr Watson said people were threatening him or refusing to have anything to do with him when they become aware of his reputation.
He said Pen Dragon denied committing the crime in a bid to return to prison.
Mr Watson argued this crime was “out of character” for Pen Dragon because he did not usually commit violent offences.
The lawyer said his client dropped the knife when the victim started struggling and bleeding. “His heart wasn’t in it,” his lawyer said.
The court was told Pen Dragon’s victim had lost her sense of security and trust and had to move to a different area to feel safer.
Justice Jenkins said Pen Dragon had terrified a vulnerable woman who was alone with her baby at night with a large kitchen knife, which he claimed to carry around with him for protection.
Outside court Shannon said a five-year sentence for the “frightening man” she thought was a “scruffy street bum” was the best outcome she could have expected.
She said she fought back out of “reflex” and she would always wonder what his real intentions were.
“In five years time my little girl will still be very young and it would have been really nice to see him released when she was all grown up and I didn’t have to worry about that sort of thing,” she said.
“It was like a scene out of a movie, I still can’t believe I could be so unlucky to run into a character like that.
“I’m always looking sideways when I’m loading things into the car, when I’m walking around with the baby.
“These things have a big impact on your life … but I’m not going to let it stop me doing anything I want to do.”
Shannon, who attended court for “closure”, believed Pen Dragon knew she had a baby with her before he leapt into her car.
She said the fact her daughter was so young and “oblivious” to the ordeal was a saving grace.
Pen Dragon’s conviction of assault with attempt to rob was the latest in a criminal past that began when he was 14.
He was released from Bangkok’s Klong Prem prison in 2006 after serving 10 years of a 15-year sentence for the violent child sex offences, which dated back to 1993.
He moved from NSW to Western Australia after he was deported back to Australia, and then in 2008 and 2009 was convicted of several counts of possessing child pornography.