Warning: this story contains distressing content relating to rape and violence.

A man who once abducted and raped a teenager has today been jailed indefinitely for decades of "dehumanising" sexual and physical abuse against multiple women.

Richard George Apperley, 39, who started raping women when he was just 15 years old, was identified by a forensic psychiatrist as having psychopathic traits.

His abuse includes raping a pregnant woman while punching her in the stomach, threatening to abort her unborn child if she fought him, and tying up his victims, often as they slept.

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He appeared in the High Court at Wellington today for sentencing on five charges of rape, four of unlawful sexual connection, two attempted sexual violation, one representative charge of assault with a weapon, and one representative charge each of possessing and making objectionable publications.

The charges, which he has pleaded guilty to, date back to offending which began in the 1990s.

Some of his victims told police of being forcefully raped several times a week for months and years while being subjected to degrading and painful behaviour.

His first victim also told police about chilling comments Apperley made to her during sex about how he wanted her to help him abduct a female from the street, mutilate and defile her.

She believed as long as Apperley was sexually abusing her, he would not hurt anyone else.

One day he brought another balaclava-clad man back to the victim's house and they both raped her as her children slept in a nearby room.

On another occasion he continued to rape the victim as her upset 3-year-old stood by telling him to leave his mother alone.

Apperley was jailed in 1998 in Palmerston North for kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old girl. He was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

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He was on an extended supervision order when he met his second victim.

The sex soon became non-consensual, and on occasions Apperley would hold her down or put his hands around her throat.

He met his third victim when she found him in her back yard late one evening.

He lied and told her he was trying to find an address where his mother used to work. He charmed the woman into giving him her cellphone number.

Over the next couple of years he continually raped and physically abused her.

He began offending against his fourth victim after 2010, starting with more demeaning behaviour such as writing degrading words on her body in vivid and filming her.

He would whisper to her that she liked "having sex with a rapist".

As with all of his victims, Apperley would physically hold her down and have sex with her as she tried to escape.

She began sleeping with items under her pillow to protect herself.

In late 2017 and early 2018 police searched Apperley's flat in Hataitai, Wellington, for an unrelated matter.

They found various devices containing more than 20,000 images and movies downloaded from the internet which showed women being abused and raped.

Police also found more than 2000 images and movies relating to his previous and current partners.

"I did not know ugliness before you"

Apperley's first victim said before she met him she was a happy and carefree teenager.

He made her feel "worthless", and lose her confidence, she said in a victim impact statement.

She also blamed herself for the "horrendous abuse" he went on to inflict on other women.

"I did not know ugliness before you. This all changed after the first time you raped me."

She and the other victims described how their mental health unravelled after the offending, with some of them falling into drug use and considering suicide.

They spoke of being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, with one victim explaining she was in a "living nightmare".

"I don't want any other woman to be affected by your cruel, humiliating, and dehumanising behaviours ever again."

One the victims' sons, who had witnessed one of the rapes when he was only 3 years old, spoke about how the traumatic incident had affected him, causing him to start soiling himself uncontrollably and taking away his ability to speak properly. He also developed a hair loss condition, anger problems, and was bullied through school.

Finite sentence "not adequate to protect society"

Justice Jillian Mallon said Apperley was raised in a loving home, but was sent to live with his biological father at the age of 13, where he was exposed to mutual viewing of pornography and "associated sexual interactions" with his father.

She spoke of Apperley's prior abduction and rape convictions, saying he kidnapped the girl after finding her home alone.

When caught by police, he said he did not know what had come over him, and had thought about killing her and disposing of her body to avoid detection.

He was put on an extended supervision order after being released from prison after the kidnapping, but was convicted of breaching the order three times.

Justice Mallon sentenced Apperley to preventive detention with a minimum non parole period of 10 years.

Preventive detention is an indeterminate sentence which allows him to be recalled to prison at any time.

Other women encouraged to come forward

After the sentencing, acting Detective Senior Sergeant Haley Ryan commended the bravery of the women who made complaints against Apperley.

"Police are aware there may be more women who have are yet to come forward and speak to us about their experience with Apperley.

"Apperley resided in the Wellington and Horowhenua districts through the 1990s until the present, and we believe he also spent time in Greymouth within that period."

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours or 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.

• Take the children with you.

• Don't stop to get anything else.

• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to get help or information:

• Rape Crisis Line - 0800 883 300

• National Sexual Harm Helpline - 0800 044 334

• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz

• Pet Refuge petrefuge.org.nz

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz

• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584

• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz