‘I wanted to kill him’: Nudist camp sex predator freed

 

A world-renowned composer and notorious paedophile used four minutes from the moment police knocked on his door to when they entered the property to erase evidence he had downloaded horrific child abuse images from the Russian dark net.

By stalling opening the door, Gary Maxwell Featherstone has again avoided jail despite him being one of Australia's worst serial paedophiles whose global child porn access has even been noted by the FBI in America.

Police knocked on Featherstone's front door in a village west of Forster on the NSW Mid North Coast at 9.25am last February.

He did not open it immediately, later saying he was dealing with laundry. But a forensic check of his PlayStation found that at 9.21am he had been accessing abuse material.

"It would appear that the accused was caught in the act of accessing child abuse material when police arrived at his address and he was unable to completely hide his activity," a police statement tendered to the Katoomba District Court stated.

The videos, accessed Tor dark websites, images and movies included boys under 10 years in bondage, toddlers in bath tubs and others in sex acts which were found on his device's deleted section.

 

Composer & former private school teacher Gary Featherstone, arrested and later charged with 60 offences related to child sex. Picture: News Corp
Composer & former private school teacher Gary Featherstone, arrested and later charged with 60 offences related to child sex. Picture: News Corp

 

Featherstone initially denied all actions but then pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of use carriage service to access child pornography.

"Due to the images being deleted, police will not be pursuing a possess child abuse material charge as he was not technically in possession of the images," a NSW Police statement tendered to court stated.

He was sentenced to 18 months to be served until December 2021 but the sentence was immediately suspended with Featherstone instead ordered to be of good behaviour and adhere to Taree Community Corrections supervision for that period.

 

SCEGGS Redlands - where he previously taught school students.
SCEGGS Redlands - where he previously taught school students.

 

This was despite earlier court hearings describing the risk of him offending with accessing child abuse material as "significantly high".

The now 71-year-old was first arrested in 2003, ironically when Australian Federal Police at the behest of the FBI and US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, entered his home to find a child abuse video still playing, one of 50,000 "depraved" images and videos a search of his home would turn up.

 

Musican & pianist Gary Featherstone previously taught at SCEGGS Redlands.
Musican & pianist Gary Featherstone previously taught at SCEGGS Redlands.

 

The SCECGS Redlands private school teacher - who was listed on the International Who's Who of Music as one of the 20th Century's most outstanding composers and The American 500 Leaders of Influence in music - escaped jail instead handed a suspended sentence, prompting the NSW State Government to order a review which eventually saw him jailed for two years.

Then he was arrested again a year later and charged with 59 child abuse offences with evidence some of those on the videos were actually his 11-14 year old victims, filmed at "family friendly" nudist camps in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. Some of his victims were pulled from orphanages and boys homes and were ordered to pretend to be his sons as he took them to nudist camps across Australia.

It was an investigation by News Corp Australia that identified those on the videos with victims in Australia and convinced the NSW Police to initiate a case.

He was jailed for 13 years in 2006, released in 2011, jailed again for having child porn, released again, faced another year in jail in 2018 and two months after his parole expired in February last year police knocked on his door.

FEATHERSTONE'S VICTIM'S WORDS REVEALED

 

An investigation by News Corp Australia almost 14 years ago saw Gary Maxwell Featherstone jailed on 12 charges relating to abuse of boys he would collect from orphanages.

For more than six years he would order the boys to pretend they were his sons, as he would travel about Australia to well-known family-run nudist camps to abuse and film them.

Some of the boys would eventually be shared with other men.

This is the never-before-published transcript of one of his victims speaking to this reporter that formed the centre piece of a file of material put together to convince police in four states particularly NSW that a monster was on the loose.

The videos of his abuse have been destroyed.

Featherstone hid behind his global fame, his respected status and his ill mother but this is the story of one of his victims.

Names have been redacted to protect the identity of the innocent.

 

***************************************************************

"I was 12.

A friend (name redacted - CB) introduced me to him, he was a couple of years older than me, he was about 15.

At this stage, we were growing up in boys' homes. I didn't really care about much because things could not have gone any lower than things had already got.

What he was doing, it was all pretty normal.

(CB) I knew was molested before and once I got to know Featherstone I knew he was molesting him as well.

So he (Featherstone) was showing a lot of affection towards me and stuff like that and doing a lot of things that I had not had in a long time, showing me attention buying things and taking an interest basically.

I tried to talk to (CB) about it maybe three years ago but he goes 'it's behind me I've had enough'. CB and (redacted) look at it in a different way. They've got a lot of anger, (CB) hides behind the alcohol a lot.

CB was eventually "sold'' to another man (redacted) from (redacted) in Rockdale.

The very first night it was him (Featherstone) touching me and then he pushed me down towards … (points below his waist and starts to cry).

We were playing computer games and having some pizza takeaway, it was always pizza, we'd get a video to watch after 8.30 then … (crying)

You see there wasn't a weekend, there wouldn't have been one weekend in the first four years where I can say he never touched me. Yes without hesitation I can swear on the bible, or the Koran or whatever.

I went to YMCA camps in Yarramundi (Hawkesbury) and one up there near Newcastle. There should be documentation at the John Hunter Hospital because I broke my ankle and we went there to get plaster.

Featherstone was a youth leader but he would molest us there.

He'd go to nudist conventions where nudist from all over Australia and overseas … the same would happen. Yeah that was pretty much the first month of meeting. At Wiseman's Ferry, Windsor way, River Island near Mittagong, the Wombeyan Caves there, River Valley on the Echuca, Helios (nudist camp) in Gembrook in Victoria. He would film us at these places. I was at Rosco (nudist camp) when the Newcastle earthquake happened. I know that there are two videos that are circulating publicly because it was a health, health nude and sun and health conventions.

 

Helios (nudist camp) in Gembrook in Victoria.
Helios (nudist camp) in Gembrook in Victoria.

 

He'd drive everywhere with us.

There was Tindo (Nudist Club Cockatoo Valley South Australia) another one in Queensland near the Howard brewery on the highway heading towards the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast up near Caboolture and Kings Bridge and another up the north coast, we'd drive to all places. CB went on all the trips as well.

The one at (near brewery) he was actually run out off that I know because we packed up very quickly and we had to go. It use to have a petrol station space ship that's how I remembered.

I'm not sure if the police at Newcastle still have it but they were called out New Year's Eve for the earthquake to Rosco because there was pot down there. They spoke to (redacted), they spoke to myself and Gary (Featherstone) and he said he was my father.

Gary would tell people at the nudist resorts he was my father and he would say `if you are ever asked, your mother and I are separated and you've come to live with me for a while".

He would say CB was his older son from his first marriage.

I could describe them all Kiata, I could describe Rosco, River Valley, River Island, Helios, all of them.

 

Tindo Nudist club in South Australia.
Tindo Nudist club in South Australia.

 

He use to take me up to the Blue Mountains with his 'girlfriend' Lyn (name redacted). She was a much older lady than he was. I hate to say it but she was gullible in some senses where she looks back now and can see why I was playing up. She knows why now.

She was a bit gullible that way, I mean I don't know anyone in their right mind that if you were going out with each other, she would sleep in the lounge room and he would sleep in the bedroom with (CB) and myself.

I was speaking to my mom a couple of days ago when (Featherstone) was arrested (for child pornography) and it was like a light had been switched on and I thought 'now this is my chance now people are going to believe you'.

I tried to tell people, yes many people, many, many people. Mainly counsellors going all the way back to the very first night. Nobody would ever believe me.

One councillor Freida once said 'something's not right here and she called a case conference and said I was not allowed to go back to Gary's house on weekends. She said we were not allowed to go over there. She knew something was up.

 

 

 

Musican & pianist Gary Featherstone. Picture: Jeff Darmanin
Musican & pianist Gary Featherstone. Picture: Jeff Darmanin

 

Gary would say 'meet me on a Thursday after school and stay a week and I will drop you off at the horse paddock and you can run down to Carol Cottage (boys home) again on Wrights road in Kellyville (north west Sydney).

Gary's mother had her horse Roxy on a corner and the nudist resort Kiata (Hawkesbury) was just down the road. She goes `oh those funny people go down there' and Gary would make sly funny jokes and say `Oh you wouldn't catch me going down there you don't know what they could get up to'.

I couldn't tell anybody what was going on because nobody would believe it.

I was a kid in a boys' home who had a history of running away and getting into trouble in the boys home. Until this came out nobody was going to believe me. I felt that, he was an upstanding citizen in the community, that is what everybody thinks, he helps children and that. They're going to think 'here's a bloke trying to accuse another man of something …'

I didn't know really, I wasn't sure I was confused, `is this right, is this normal? Are other kids having to go through this? I just didn't have a clue until he got (name redacted boy 4) and I was 16 then.

 

Gary Featherstone in October 1978. Picture: Supplied
Gary Featherstone in October 1978. Picture: Supplied

 

He use to put on these electric type blue movies the older type of porn movies and I remember he'd video me and he used to say that he'd tape over them 'don't worry no-one will ever know, no one would ever know'. He would have this big old grey camera with battery pack VCR tape. He would … film us … engaged in activities by myself and with him. It would begin with oral sex then anything goes …

He would always constantly say 'I love you, I love you I won't let anything happen to you'. He goes 'if you need anything just tell me and I will help you' and I had no self-esteem basically, I had nothing. I didn't care anymore. I was just a tool. I figured if I had to do that to make somebody happy then there's nothing else I could do really.

When I heard about (boy 2) I wanted to kill him, I wanted to kill Gary, I had no hesitation.

The only person in my life I ever wanted to kill was him. It was against everything I've ever believed him but he's got nothing, he's got away with it.

I know I'm not the only one. He's taken away kids from Kiata nudist resort - a kid called (boy 5) who use to go out there with his grandmother. He was exactly like me but living in a broken down home, easy prey.

There were six of us including me being abused.

We would also go to a gay club upstairs on Darlinghurst Road. There was a video machine downstairs and we would hire a video. I was 14 then. Bouncers never said anything, no nothing, they would just get $10 to look away. We just walked in, up the stairs, paid the guy and you just chose a video, then you walk downstairs and the first cubicle on the right had a bed and a dirty sheet and a TV at the foot of the bed and a bucket to discard things.

So this went on for four or five years.

I tried to speak about it, tell people, my mother.

He (Featherstone) goes 'well Pete put it this way, who are they going to believe, you or me?' At that stage of my life I thought 'yea he's pretty much right they are not going to believe me are they?'

 

Gary Featherstone composition used in the Australian and New Zealand school syllabus. This piano piece was called “For Children”.
Gary Featherstone composition used in the Australian and New Zealand school syllabus. This piano piece was called “For Children”.

 

I started playing up a lot, I had become withdrawn, I had become outwardly aggressive, always yelling I was now 16 by then.

I think I was more confused than enraged, everything was just building around and I didn't know how to deal with it so I acted up I guess.

I kept a lot of it inside for a very, very long time and only started talking about it to a counsellor when I went to the Sir David Longland Correctional Centre (now Brisbane Correctional Centre)

She basically told me it was not my fault. I had nothing to be ashamed off.

When I told my mum and (counsellor) it was like a pretty big lift, because I can't even hug my stepfather. I don't touch him. I don't have a particularly good relationship with him, or my mum I don't have a good relationship properly with the way a female would like it.

I have a lot of flashbacks, vivid memories.

Basically it has wrecked my life. I don't eat, I don't sleep properly, I have flash backs all the time.

All I have to see is the Law & Order SVU (Special Victims Unit) TV show or a Current Affair or something like that, the news; the Anglican Church down here (Adelaide) which was on the news last night for abuse.

I want him to see my face and think `shit', I'm in serious trouble now. At the end of the day, he took more than anything out of my life. He got me onto drugs at one stage, now I've been clean for over two years. He didn't take drugs himself, he was just buying them. He bought me heroin on numerous occasions, ecstasy and acid LSD.

I'm no saint. I used the heroin in the long run to stop the thoughts, stop flashbacks, stop wanting to go and jump off a bridge, stop wanting to finish it all. I went to jail.

I'm good now, clean. Am getting my life back on track.

SPECIAL REPORT:

Qld's faces of evil: 3000 sex monsters free to roam streets

NSW faces of evil: Thousands of sex monsters loose

Victoria's faces of evil: 5000 sex monsters in the state

Tasmania's faces of evil: Sex monsters among us

NT's faces of evil: Sex monsters in the suburbs

SA's faces of evil: Sex monsters living at-large

 

 

 

Originally published as 'I wanted to kill him': Nudist camp sex predator freed



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