A jury has found Robert Ashleigh McLarnon guilty of 32 charges of raping and indecently assaulting girls in the 1960s and 70s.

Five of the 10 women who brought charges against him were in the Tauranga District Court today to hear the guilty verdicts read.

McLarnon, however, was not there.

The 78-year-old Bay of Plenty man was taken by ambulance to Tauranga Hospital shortly after the jury returned following three days of deliberations.


It resulted in a tense delay for the women and their supporters - some of whom had travelled from overseas to see justice done - as they waited outside the courtroom to find out whether the judge would hear the verdicts read in the defendant's absence.

For the women who carried the knowledge of what happened to them as children with them for decades, waited two years for the case to come to court, and testified during the three-week trial, the last minute delay was comparatively short.

Judge Paul Mabey agreed to hear the jury's decisions without the defendant present.

The women gripped each others' hands, eyes welling with silent tears, as they heard each charge read out: guilty to all.

McLarnon was found guilty of 15 charges of rape, six of indecently assaulting a girl aged under 12, three of indecent assault, four of committing an indecent act with a girl under 12 and four of committing an indecent assault on a girl aged between 12 and 16 years old.

His name was suppressed during the trial but that suppression was lifted today.

The names of all of his victims are automatically suppressed.

Outside court, some of the women told the Bay of Plenty Times the verdicts came as a relief.


"We have been believed," said one.

McLarnon's crimes were committed between 1965 and the 1980s and took place in a number of locations around the Katikati and Waihī area.

The locations included various spots on McLarnon's farm, including barns, sheds, paddocks and a pig sty as well as at a nearby primary school, and surrounding areas.

The victims were all children and teenagers when they were offended against.

One of the girls was repeatedly raped and assaulted from the ages of 8 to 18.

McLarnon was remanded in custody for sentencing in the same court on August 9.