By NAOMI LARKIN
In his home country of New Zealand, he was police constable Ian Lowe. In Australia, he was Alistah Laishkochav - father of 63 children, husband to nine wives, cult guru and convicted paedophile.
Yesterday, the 71-year-old was sentenced in the Victorian County Court, Melbourne, to seven years and six months' jail for 20 child sex offences and one charge of reckless injury after he threw a plank of wood at the head of one of the children.
The offences involved four girls aged between 7 and 11 and occurred between 1987 and 1991 at his Bells Beach compound in Victoria.
One of the girls was Laishkochav's daughter. The other three were the children of followers of the self-styled messiah who came to stay at Bells Beach for weekends and holidays.
Detective Sergeant Doug Smith, of Melbourne's Sexual Crime Squad, told the Weekend Herald yesterday that he believed Lowe preyed on this one daughter because he did not realise she was his own child.
"I think it was a case of mistaken identity."
Ian Francis Lowe was born in Auckland on October 17, 1928, and was brought up by his maternal grandparents.
His grandfather was a carpenter, a trade which the young Lowe briefly embraced before taking up an apprenticeship as a baker.
At 25, he married his first wife in a Mormon Church, where he was introduced to the concept of polygamy. The marriage ended 14 years later.
Police records show that Lowe abandoned his baking career to become a constable in 1953. However, the job did not suit him and he resigned within the year.
In 1969, his marriage in tatters, Lowe decided to seek his fortune elsewhere and moved to Sydney.
During the 1970s he changed his name and began to gather a group of devotees - mainly women - who were attracted to his religion, a hybrid mix of Jewish, Hawaiian and Mormon faiths, and who believed Lowe's claims that he was Jesus Christ.
After travelling around Australia for some years, Lowe and his harem of nine wives, who were all at least 30 years younger than him, moved to the Victorian surf mecca of Bells Beach in 1983.
It was here in the two-storey house - where the children slept 15 bunks to a room - and in the sheds outside that Lowe practised his abuse.
Described by his victims as "the controller" who "absolutely terrified" them, Lowe bought their silence through fear and religion.
One of the girls, now aged 18, said she was petrified of the man who claimed "his God would punish her" if she told anyone about the abuse.
She said she was assaulted hundreds of times over a three-year period until she left to live with her own father.
Lowe kept the family's food in a locked shed, slapped and punched his children, preached from the Old Testament, and had Hawaiian music piped throughout the house, she said. Upstairs, Lowe slept with two wives at a time in the same room as the seven other women.
A roster system ensured that sexual attention was shared equally among the women.
It was not until the summer of 1991 that the wives stopped home-schooling their brood and enrolled them at nearby Torquay Primary and Oberon High School.
Ken McCallum, the former principal of Torquay Primary, told the Weekend Herald that he remembered the day the nine women arrived with 29 children, "sat in my office and enrolled them all."
"They weren't as robust as our Torquay kids.
"I would suspect they probably spent quite a bit ot time inside ... They were fairer skinned. They were shy and quieter than our kids."
Mr McCallum said the women took part in school activities, doing "everything they could to assimilate their kids into our school."
"We certainly had no inkling that anything was wrong because the mums were so caring of them."
Mr McCallum recalled how Lowe attended one parent-teacher meeting dressed in flowing robes, and with a long beard and long hair.
Early in 1992 the cult left on its own bus to set up the commune near Byron Bay in New South Wales.
Then ,some time during the following year, one of the girls told a school friend about the abuse and Lowe's game was up.
Detective Sergeant Smith said he believed that the wives were unaware of the sexual abuse and that they turned against Lowe when they found out.
"He certainly hasn't admitted the offences ... He hasn't shown any remorse."
By NAOMI LARKIN