Today Colin Jack Mitchell was jailed indefinitely for kidnapping a woman and assaulting her at a West Auckland quarry - and for the previously unsolved rape of a young mother making her way home from a music gig in 1992.

Today is not the first time Mitchell was jailed for violent sexual offending.

In 1985 he was sentenced to five years in prison after he raped, sodomised and indecently assaulted a teenager in central Auckland.

For the first time - this is her story.

This is a victim's account of a violent sexual assault and the way it impacted her life. This content could be upsetting or triggering. Please take care.


It was a Monday night.

July 24, 1984.

The 19-year-old stood on Queen St, anxious about what she was about to do.

It was her first night working as a prostitute and she was nervous as hell.

She didn't want the work, but she needed the money.

Before the baby she was an exotic dancer, but her boss said she couldn't cut it anymore - her body wasn't the same, the punters weren't interested in seeing mums dance.

She signed up for a benefit, but the money was dismal compared to what she used to make.

"I wanted to give my daughter a better life and someone suggested I go out on Queen St," she said.

"I gave my daughter to my mum and I went out.

"It was my first night - he was my first, last and only job."

He was Colin Jack Mitchell.

"No," he told her.

"I don't want you, I want her."

The 19-year-old was in his sights.

She got into his car and they discussed a price - he wanted masturbation and oral sex but there was to be no intercourse.

She agreed to go with him and he drove off.

What happened next would destroy the teenager's life.

Mitchell pulled his white station wagon into a rail yard in Mt Eden, turned off the engine.

"The next thing I knew he had his hands around my throat," said the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

"I just shut down, my whole body ... I think it's because I had never had hands around my throat before, until then I didn't know people did that.

"He said 'take all your clothes off and leave them on the floor then get out the driver's side and don't scream'.

"I didn't know what he was going to do to me, I thought I was going to die."

The teenager said she was "very naive" and didn't even really know what rape was.

"People didn't talk about that kind of thing back then," she said.

She scrambled out of the car and Mitchell forced her get on her hands and knees and perform oral sex on him.

He then ordered her to lie on her back and he raped her.

"When he was on top of me he had his hands over my face ... I couldn't breathe, I was panicking.

"I thought I was going to pass out ... what he was doing to me, it hurt, but I was just so scared.

"He made me roll over onto my stomach, then he sodomised me.

"I can still remember, feel the stones digging into me, into my skin on the front of my body ..."

According to court documents released to the Herald, Mitchell then forced the victim to perform oral sex a second time, then raped her and sodomised her again.

"I can remember saying to him 'why are you doing this to me?'," the victim said.

"I thought he was going to kill me."

During the horrific attack, Mitchell told her he wanted to "bottle her".

Luckily, he didn't have a bottle.

When he was finished, he told her "don't get up" and threatened to get 10 of his friends to perform the same brutal acts on her - "only worse" - if she went to police.

As she lay in the gravel he went through her handbag.

"He sat in the driver's seat and made me stand there naked while he went through my bag, chucking everything out.

"He went through my purse, found out my real name and address… he pulled out a photo of my daughter ... I just wanted him to go.

"He said 'I'll call you' and then said 'you stay here for at least half an hour' and then he left.

"He drove off and I thought 'f**k, I need to get out of here right now in case he comes back.

"I ran up Mt Eden Rd, naked, dropping all of my stuff as I ran."

Colin Mitchell during sentencing today in the High Court at Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker
Colin Mitchell during sentencing today in the High Court at Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

She made it to a massage parlour where she knew some people and called the police.

By tracking her dropped belongings and clothes, police were able to find the spot where the brutal attack took place.

As a result of the police investigation, Mitchell was identified as the attacker and charged.

In July 1985 he was sentenced to five years in prison for the offending.

At sentencing the High Court Judge said Mitchell's offending was "gross".

He suggested Mitchell targeted the young sex worker for the attack because, due to her job, she was "easily approachable" and "was one who would perhaps be reluctant to complain, thus lessening the risk of detection and apprehension".

The victim gave evidence at trial, but did not attend sentencing.

She was too terrified.

She left Auckland soon after the attack and has only ever returned a handful of times, mostly for court hearings, back in 1984 and 1985.

She never wanted to see Mitchell again and feared that his mates, like he promised, would hunt her down and rape her all over again - or worse.

She spent 34 years worrying, wondering about Mitchell.

Every time there was a rape in Auckland on the news, she would check the news to see if his name came up, if police were looking for the same white station wagon that carried her to the scene of her violation.

Every night - fearful of Mitchell's promise that his mates would come for her - she barricaded herself into her room so that if anyone tried to get in and get her, she'd hear them coming.

"I didn't go to sentencing so I didn't know what happened, and no one called to tell me he'd been released," she said.

"So I just thought he must still be locked up, or that he was dead.

"He just disappeared off the radar."

Then, one night last year, there was a knock at the door.

"The police turned up at my door at 10.30pm," the victim said.

Headline from the New Zealand Herald of July 13, 1985, on Colin Mitchell's earlier conviction for rape. Image / Herald Archive
Headline from the New Zealand Herald of July 13, 1985, on Colin Mitchell's earlier conviction for rape. Image / Herald Archive

I thought it was one of my kids, that they'd been in a crash or something, but the officer said 'we wanted to know if you'd give evidence against Colin Jack Mitchell if needed?'," she recalled.

"I went into shock."

The officers told her that Mitchell was facing charges for an attack on a woman at a quarry in West Auckland.

And, that he had been charged with the unsolved rape of a woman in 1992.

She always suspected that Mitchell was capable of harming other women, but genuinely thought that after he was jailed in 1985 - that would stop him.

"I thought I was the only one ... I feel like this is my fault," she said.

"Maybe if I could have done more to put him away for longer, this never would have happened?

"I went through all of that (the trial) because I didn't want him to hurt anyone else and he did, and that's why I feel like I failed.

"I feel so much guilt, I just feel like I let those girls down… this is my fault.

"That is gutting because I only took him to court so he couldn't hurt anyone else - I didn't want him touching anyone else, I wanted him to stay off the streets."

When she talks about Mitchell now her hands still shake, almost violently, the movement travelling up her arms until her shoulders are trembling and her voice becomes wobbly.

He's had an insurmountable impact on her life and when he went on trial for the 2017 and 1992 attacks - both significantly similar to her attack - she spiralled.

"I watched him on television and I started reliving it, I started having nightmares," she said.

"I'm scared sh*tless of him, I live in fear.

"It's like he's broken me and I can't put it back together, I can't fix this ... He ruined my whole life."

Her relationships after Mitchell were punctuated by violence and further sexual assaults.

She became addicted to gambling and drugs - anything she could get her hands on.

"I got into drugs really heavily, that was my only way of coping," she said.

She tried to take her own life several times because she felt that was the only way she could ever really escape Mitchell.

"He's been in my whole journey, my whole life, like a shadow," she said.

"I will never forget it.

"He took something away from me that I cannot replace, and I don't know what it is ... I've been trying to figure it out for 34 years, over and over again.

"What he did has really taken a toll - I don't know how to have a proper relationship, I don't know how to make love to someone.

"I have been a prisoner for so many years."

Her struggles have been exacerbated by a feeling that if she hadn't have agreed to get into Mitchell's car, he would not have attacked her.

"It's my fault," she said.

"People tell me it's not, that he's to blame - but I got into that car ... it's something that happened and I can't fix.

"After 34 years, how do you retrain your brain to think differently?"

She's also angry that the one night she dabbled in sex work has seen her labelled a "prostitute" for more than three decades.

In news reports, both current and historic, she's been described as a sex worker and she was forced to tell her adult kids about Mitchell in case she was brought into this year's trial.

Counselling, something she had not embarked on until this year, is slowly helping her unravel her fear.

But deep down she knows that she will never be fixed.

Colin Mitchell giving evidence in court earlier this year, denying the offending. Photo / Supplied
Colin Mitchell giving evidence in court earlier this year, denying the offending. Photo / Supplied

The damage Mitchell caused is simply too great.

And no matter what she does, she will never get his eyes out of her head.

"I can remember them so clearly," she said.

"He stared at me as he made me strip, he stared at me as he raped me ... he was looking at me all the time and I will never forget that."

When the Herald first spoke to the woman she was afraid to share her story.

But after watching and reading coverage of Mitchell's trial in the news and hearing details of the attacks that followed hers - with bone-chilling similarities - she knew she needed to speak up.

"I've never had a voice until now," she said.

"I was always too scared ... he's a very nasty, vindictive and very sick man.

"But now I want to take control back."

She said she "despised" Mitchell and made the brave decision to travel to Auckland to face him in court at sentencing yesterday.

"I wanted to see him, I wanted him to see me, I wanted to stare at him, torment him, intimidate him.

"I want him to suffer like he made us suffer ... I know it makes me sound like a terrible person talking about taking someone's life but in a way, he took my life away.

"What he took, I can't replace ...he might have taken away part of my soul ... I don't know how I survived."

She sat in the front row yesterday, after getting up at 4am to drive up country to attend court.

She was shaking like a leaf, she had no idea how she would react to seeing the man who defiled and destroyed her so many years ago.

He was called into the courtroom and her eyes locked on him.

He kept his head down, his eyes to the floor.

"He was so heartless, there was no emotion," she said after the hearing.

"I wanted to stare into his eyes like he stared into mine as he was raping me, but he wouldn't bloody look at me."

She winced as she heard details of Mitchell's offending against the others, who she met for the first time that morning.

She fought back tears and white hot rage as she listened to the survivor of the Riverhead attack read her Victim Impact Statement aloud in court.

The contents of the statement is suppressed.

As it was read, Mitchell's demeanour did not change, he remained expressionless.

"I just wanted to smack him in the face and say 'wake up, at least say sorry to me, say sorry to us all'," she said.

"At first I felt sorry for him, he looked pathetic, but then I just got angry ... I want him to suffer."

She was pleased with the sentence, after realising preventive detention meant Mitchell may never get out of prison.

"When you think about it, he's already taken my life ... I hope he never gets out."

When she met the other survivors she felt "overwhelmed".

"That young girl (the Riverhead attack survivor) is so beautiful, she is so brave, my heart just goes out to her.

"I still feel that I didn't do enough to get him off the street and she's only here because of me ... he's a coward.

"He is the most cold-hearted person I've ever met in my life."

If you have been sexually assaulted - no matter when - please remember it's not your fault and there is help out there.

If you're in danger NOW:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.

Where to go for help or more information:

Speak to someone you trust - a friend, teacher, family member or counsellor.

They will be able to help you contact the services you need.

There is information on the New Zealand Police website about reporting sexual offending or abuse, with advise for victims.