Mother of murdered teen Carly Ryan still fighting online predators

By Candace Sutton

Carly Ryan (above), 15, was the victim of a sadistic but cunning online predator who had 200 fake internet profiles. Photo / Carly Ryan Foundation Facebook
Carly Ryan (above), 15, was the victim of a sadistic but cunning online predator who had 200 fake internet profiles. Photo / Carly Ryan Foundation Facebook

He liked extreme pornography in which young women dressed as schoolgirls and he even tried to rape his own 13-year-old daughter after plying her with alcohol.

Garry Francis Newman was a brutal, sadistic paedophile with an ability to charm his way into the hearts of women before unleashing his monstrous intent.

With Carly Ryan, an attractive 14-year-old South Australian schoolgirl, Newman bided his time, patiently luring her with the cruellest of tricks to a lonely murder.

Carly was by no means his first victim.

He had promised to leave a girl in Singapore "looking like the packaged meat you get from Safeway" supermarket when she rejected him.

Now 10 years later, on the anniversary of her daughter's murder, Carly's mother, Sonya Ryan, is using her own family tragedy to protect other young girls from online predators.

"To commemorate Carly and promote online safety, the Carly Ryan Foundation, in partnership with ThinkUKnow Australia, is asking the Australian community spread the word about how to stay safe if you ever plan to meet up with someone you've spoken to online.

Sonya Ryan is working towards legislation known as Carly's Law, which would make it a crime for adults to lie about their age online to groom children and lure them to a meeting.

"For me as a mother it is a bittersweet moment," Ryan told Fairfax News.

"Of course, I would much rather she was here. I am just desperately trying to make some kind of difference in her name."

Carly Ryan fell victim to Newman's "grossly perverted plan" to masquerade online as an 18-year-old musician named "Brandon Kane".

Newman, whose violent, barbaric history with women would only emerge later as he tried to evade prosecution, had 200 fake internet identities.

The character Brandon Kane was a 20-year-old Texas-born "emo", or punk subculture, guitarist who lived in Melbourne with his adoptive father, Shane.

Carly was an "emo", who wore predominantly black clothing, heavy eye shadow and bright lipstick, who met Newman masquerading as Kane on the gothic website, vampirefreaks.com.

Carly Ryan was a naive teenager. Photo / Carly Ryan Foundation Facebook
Carly Ryan was a naive teenager. Photo / Carly Ryan Foundation Facebook

Through "Brandon", Newman chatted online with Carly for months in 2006, plotting for them to meet.

In January 2007, Newman, as "Shane", travelled to Adelaide to meet Carly on her 15th birthday.

Carly believed the father was going to buy a property in Adelaide for her and Brandon to live.

He arrived in Adelaide with hundreds of dollars worth of clothing including a corset and lingerie.

But at Carly's birthday party, "Shane" told her "I love you, I would never let anything happen to you, you are beautiful" and, as Carly later told her mother, had "touched her in a sexual way".

She rebuffed "Shane's" advances and told him he was "old fat and gross".

Like he had with the girl in Singapore who had rejected him, Newman vowed to "fix her up".

A month later, using the Brandon Kane character, Newman lured Carly to a deserted beach at Victor Harbour, 80 kilometres south of Adelaide.

As a murder trial would later hear: "Carly Ryan spoke constantly to people, particularly her mother and cousin, about Brandon.

"She professed to love Brandon and she believed that he loved her."

Wearing her emo-culture hairstyle and clothing, Carly turned up at Victor Harbour.

There, instead of the romantic Brandon, the fat, balding, middle-aged violent paedophile Newman was waiting.

Newman bashed Carly around the head and then pushed her face into the sand to suffocate her, then threw her in the sea.

The following day her body was found floating in the shallows of Port Elliot.

Police eventually tracked down Newman and arrested him and his son. Both men were placed in custody in an Adelaide prison and their names suppressed.

At their 2009 trial, then 50-year-old Newman allowed his then-18-year-old son (who was later acquitted) to carry the blame for Carly's death.

Sonya Ryan established the Carly Ryan Foundation to make it illegal for an adult to lie about their age online for the purpose of grooming a child. Photo / Carly Ryan Foundation Facebook
Sonya Ryan established the Carly Ryan Foundation to make it illegal for an adult to lie about their age online for the purpose of grooming a child. Photo / Carly Ryan Foundation Facebook

In 2010, South Australian Supreme Court Justice Trish Kelly revealed Newman's identity and sentenced him to life behind bars with a 29-year, non-parole period.

"It was a terribly cruel thing you did to this beautiful, impressionable 14-year-old child," Justice Kelly said.

"I say 'child' because that's what she was. A child who fell in love with the idea of the handsome, musically-inclined and rather exotic Brandon Kane.

"The real man was an overweight, balding, middle-aged paedophile with sex and murder on his mind."

After his conviction and sentence, Sonya Ryan said she would "never forgive the monster".

"I hope that he suffers, that he rots from the inside out, that he sees Carly's face every morning and is haunted for the rest of his miserable life," she said.

"Thank God he can't hurt another innocent child, but it's frustrating that taxpayers will be paying for his [breakfast cereal] every morning. He had no right to take Carly's life, and it hurts that he still has the luxury of breathing."

Sonya Ryan now dedicates her time to changing the justice system so it can protect innocent children from online predators.

On the Carly Ryan 10-year anniversary, supporters can buy a "Twibbon" to support her cause to fight cyber crime against children.

- news.com.au

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