|This is horrible.
||[Oct. 20th, 2009|01:47 pm]
CARLY Ryan believed she had found the man of her dreams in a Texas-born, Victorian-based, 20-year-old "emo" named Brandon Kane. In reality, he did not exist.|
Yesterday, a Supreme Court jury heard that Brandon Kane was nothing more than "an internet construct" and had no more substance than a dream.
Prosecutors said her true love was actually a "cyberspace alter-ego" created so that a 50-year-old man and his 19-year-old son could pursue a sexual relationship with Miss Ryan.
They said that when the 15 year old girl rejected the men's advances, the dream became a nightmare and "Brandon" became the tool that lured her to her death.
Tim Preston, for the Crown, told the court Miss Ryan was found floating, bashed and drowned, in the shallows at Port Elliot 965 days ago – and all because she had fallen in love with a fantasy.
"Carly Ryan spoke constantly to people, particularly her mother and cousin, about Brandon," Mr Preston said.
"She professed to love Brandon and she believed that he loved her.
"But Brandon was fictitious; an internet construct, the cyberspace alter-ego of the father, the son or both of them."
The men, whose identities are suppressed, have each pleaded not guilty to one count of murder.
Before the trial began, the father, of Victoria, told the jury pool he was guilty of the lesser crime of manslaughter.
Mr Preston rejected that plea, saying Miss Ryan's body had numerous bruises, abrasions and lacerations to her face, neck and arms when she was found at Port Elliot on February 20, 2007.
Her distinctive "emo culture" clothing was in disarray, there was sand in her oesophagus as well as cannabis in her blood. Mr Preston said that, in the months before her death, Miss Ryan had fallen in love with the "Brandon construct", whom she was in contact with on the internet.
He said it was operated by one or both of the accused at different times after they saw Miss Ryan's photograph on social networking website vampirefreaks.com.
Mr Preston said the father took on another identity when he attended Miss Ryan's 15th birthday – that of "Brandon's adopted father, Shane".
In that guise, Mr Preston said, the father purchased underwear, fancy-dress costumes, bags and t-shirts for Miss Ryan in the lead-up to her birthday.
"A shop girl suggested Carly Ryan try some items on, and saw the accused father inside the change room with her," he said.
"This demonstrates, on the prosecution case, a sexual interest on the part of the father in a then 14-year-old girl."
At the party, Miss Ryan spent time talking to a former boyfriend, which caused "Shane" to "have a tantrum".
"The man calling himself Shane was furious, and said Carly was `too f. . king busy' to talk," Mr Preston said. "He said `f. . k this, I'm not talking to her'.
"This demonstrates sexual jealousy on the part of the accused toward Carly Ryan."
Another partygoer heard "Shane" tell Miss Ryan: "I love you, I would never let anything happen to you, you're beautiful."
After the party, Miss Ryan told her mother that "Shane" had touched her inappropriately.
Miss Ryan's mother banned "Shane" from contacting the girl.
Mr Preston said the accused father told a family member he wanted to return to Adelaide and "fix Carly up". "On February 19, 2007, Carly Ryan left her home never again to return," he said.
He said Miss Ryan, the father and the son were seen that day in Victor Harbor, asking for help to find "a quiet place to smoke weed".
Miss Ryan was last seen at Port Elliot "sitting in a circle with two men, smoking".
Mr Preston said the father and son returned to Victoria on February 20 and visited a family member.
"The father asked (the family member) to check his hand and see if it was bruised," he said.
"He said he had hit Carly Ryan in the face and mentioned something about throwing her into the water in Adelaide."
Mr Preston said the father, son and Miss Ryan were linked by "a mammoth amount" of internet and telephone records.
He outlined a complex web of false identities, each with its own mobile phone that had been used to contact Miss Ryan.
These numbers, he said, were in "incessant contact" with Miss Ryan in the days before her death.
Crime scene examiners, meanwhile, found the teenager's jewellery at Port Elliot.
"They also found the tip of a finger from a latex glove, which was later examined for DNA," Mr Preston said.
"The DNA profile matches the accused father."
Mr Preston said the duo was arrested in March, 2007.
The father denied any involvement in Miss Ryan's death, while the son allegedly said to police officers: "You are saying I murdered Carly."
The jury was told that police officers found hand-written notes saying "Adel slut" – with Miss Ryan's contact details – and "RIP Carly Ryan".
Mr Preston said police also found shoes containing traces of Port Elliot sand.
He said that, while awaiting trial, the father had asked his cell mates if "salt water destroyed DNA" and if they "had ever tried to put clothes on a dead weight".
The father allegedly wrote to family members, asking them to help him construct an alibi and complaining about their decision to go to police and make statements against him.
Mr Preston said the son talked to social workers while in youth detention.
"The son said they met up with Miss Ryan, and were at the beach sitting around talking," he said.
"When Carly Ryan walked away, the father jumped on her from behind, pushed her into the sand and punched her in the head.
"The son said he helped his father cover it up."
The trial, before Justice Trish Kelly in the Supreme Court, is expected to last two months.