A Cambridge horse rider on trial for sexually abusing young girls with her partner has a dependent personality disorder and PTSD which made her more vulnerable to coercion.
That was the opinion of psychiatrist Dr Peter Dean who gave expert medical evidence for the defence in the judge-alone trial of Laken Maree Rose in the High Court at Hamilton today.
Rose has pleaded not guilty to 50 charges of sexual violation, indecently assaulting children under 12, making and possessing objectionable publications and inducing young persons to commit indecent acts.
The charges against Rose relate to four girls aged between 3 and 14 at various locations, including the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Palmerston North.
The offences are alleged to have taken place over a five-year period.
She has pleaded guilty to 10 charges, including nine of inducing a young person to perform sexual acts, while four other charges were withdrawn.
Rose's defence to most of the charges she faces is that she was compelled to participate in the alleged sexual crimes under duress by her former partner Andrew Alan Williams.
She previously said her relationship with Williams was "intense" and he allegedly strangled her to the point of unconsciousness.
Williams, 54, pleaded guilty to 56 charges at the start of their joint trial last week.
Dean, the clinical director of adult and forensic mental health services at Waikato Hospital, said he had interviewed Rose twice, in February and October this year.
He said he also had reports from two other psychiatrists and GP records.
Rose told one psychiatrist she had tried to leave Williams more than once and distance herself from him but he was "over-controlling" and made threats to harm himself if she did.
That psychiatrist concluded Rose's personality featured elements of co-dependency and she was also suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dean said Rose suffered from a high level of sensitivity and a social phobia often associated with feeling intense fear and overwhelmed in certain social settings.
At one point she took anti-depressants tablets her records showed.
Dean said Rose had told him she was raped when she was 17 or 18 and also witnessed someone close to her killed after being struck by a train.
She described have recurrent intrusive memories and nightmares and reported a particular memory of being strangled, he said.
Dean said he felt her PTSD and dependent personality disorder would have
contributed to her feeling fearful of Williams and dependent on him for support.
When asked by Justice Mathew Muir whether someone suffering from these conditions would be "very insecure and go above and beyond to please their partner," Dean said, in his opinion, that was correct.
He said it was clear Rose tended to idolise the good parts of her and Williams' relationship but also felt guilty and blamed herself for any abuse she suffered.
Dean said Rose felt she was nothing without the relationship.
He said her intense fear of abandonment and of him, conflicted with the fact her partner wanted to have sex with young children.
But it made her "more vulnerable" to coercion.
However, Dean, under questioning by Crown prosecutor Anna Pollett, agreed that apart from Rose's self-reports there was no independent evidence of her being raped, beaten or threatened by Williams or any violence in the relationship.
"I relied on what Ms Rose told me and she did not specifically tell me about those things and I did not ask ... But generally, she felt fearful of him," he said.
During cross-examination, Pollett put it to Rose that evidence against her was "inescapable" and all she had been doing the last two days was lying to the court.
Rose repeatedly refuted that proposition.
She said she was frightened of Williams' temper and when he had threatened to kill her and harm her family and her animals she "totally believed him".
When Pollett asked Rose why she never went to Dannevirke police Rose said, "I didn't believe anyone could protect me from him".
Defence lawyer Philip Morgan QC asked Rose why she did not report the rape to the police and she said it was because she was scared they would not believe her.
The trial continues on Monday.