WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT

The man who raped a young girl in a Sydney dance studio has been sentenced to life in jail, but he will likely die within five years from his liver cancer.

There were hugs and claps in the courtroom as the sentence was handed down to Anthony Sampieri in the Downing Centre District Court today.

Judge Paul Conlon did not set a parole period, which means the 56-year-old will die in jail.

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There were tears in court this morning as the judge read out the horrific details of the attack, in which Sampieri bound and raped a 7-year-old girl inside a Kogarah dance studio.

Anthony Samperi was on meth when he attacked the girl. Photo / via news.com.au
Anthony Samperi was on meth when he attacked the girl. Photo / via news.com.au

This was followed by hugs and an mass intake of breath as the sentence was read. Outside court, one of the heroes who tried to stop the attack Nick Gilio, said he couldn't believe his ears when he heard the sentence.

He expected Samperi would get a lot less.

"Life is life, let's get him away from innocent victims and good people in general," he said. "This is a society we want to be living in, void of these cowards. This is a bit of closure for everyone."

However, the court heard Sampieri, who has liver cancer, has only a 60 per cent chance of surviving the next five years.

Sampieri arrived early this morning from his isolation cell in Long Bay wearing a green jump suit.

He sat looking forlorn as Judge Conlon read the details of the attack over 40 minutes.

The judge said Sampieri showed a "complete lack of empathy for the child" and had a "callous disregard" for her in the attack.

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He said what happened was "any parent's worst nightmare".

"One can only imagine the confusion and heightened state of fear she would have been in as he subjected her to sexual abuse of the most horrifying and degrading kind," Judge Conlon said.

He said the attack will have lifelong consequences for the victim, saying she will be scared of using public toilets and even the toilet in her own home.

The court heard that when Sampieri had been captured, he was lying in a pool of his own blood and told police when they arrived: "I was shooting up and he's come in, beat me up and stolen my meth".

Nick Gilio put his line on the line to try to rescue the girl. Photo / news.com.au
Nick Gilio put his line on the line to try to rescue the girl. Photo / news.com.au

Meanwhile, the families of the men who tried to stop the attack wiped tears away from their eyes.

The judge said to hero Nick Gilio who tried to stop the attack: "Only due to your selfless intervention, the victim, her family, the dance school and community are in deficit to you, for the courage you displayed in detaining the offender."

In addition to the rape charges, Sampieri pleaded guilty to making 94 lewd phone calls to victims aged 18-82 between August and November 2018.

The judge warned "the risk of reoffending looms large" for Sampieri, saying the 56-year-old will "remain a future danger".

Sampieri pleaded guilty to 10 charges related to the attack including three counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10. He's also admitted to charges related to sexually explicit and harassing phone calls he made to women in the months before the Kogarah attack.

Sampieri was heckled as he walked into the court on Friday last week, with a member of the public gallery heard saying: "There he is, the little piece of s***."

Sampieri – who was on parole at the time for a Wollongong rape – raped, punched and bound the girl in the dance studio toilets after consuming the drug ice.

"Using crystal meth I believe that led me to what I did," Sampieri told the court last week.

The court heard how he believed ice was a "sexual drug" and his deviant behaviour and meth abuse went "hand-in-hand".

Prosecutor Sally Traynor said he had left written notes in his house with reminders like"don't do drugs", "don't use masturbation as a method to relieve loneliness" and "don't watch hardcore pornography".

However, Sampieri told the court those notes were the "last thing" on his mind when he attacked the young girl.

"I'd reached a point where the stuff I'd carried in my thinking started to really change and it's not good," he said.

The girl was attacked in the studio's public toilet. Photo / news.com.au
The girl was attacked in the studio's public toilet. Photo / news.com.au

In the lead-up to the Wollongong rape, he had made a string of offensive phone calls for sexual gratification, giving him a feeling of power and control. He also admitted he had repeatedly injected ice in nearby public toilets before the attack.

He said he was in such a state of sexual excitement by the time he was in the dance studio facilities, he would have attacked anyone who had walked in.

In the 48 hours leading up to that, the court heard Sampieri went on an ice binge around Kogarah that saw him visit a beautician's the day before the attack.

The court heard he injected ice at a number of toilets in the suburb, including at a child psychologist's, a library and a dentist's.

Sampieri told police he injected more ice when he arrived at the dance studio where the attack took place on November 15. He said he stumbled across the studio when he was looking for somewhere to "shoot up".

Asked why he filmed his offending that night he told the court, "because I had the means to do it and I had that much crystal meth that it seemed the best thing to do at the time".

However, the crown said his actions that day were planned, not impulsive, and that he filmed the attack for his own gratification.

"The offender was looking for some kind of sexual gratification and filming women was not enough, he had to attack someone to fulfil his sexual desires," the prosecutor said.

SEXUAL HARM - DO YOU NEED HELP?

If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact Safe to Talk confidentially:

• Call 0800 044 334

• Text 4334

• Email support@safetotalk.nz

• For more info or to web chat visit www.safetotalk.nz

Alternatively contact your local police station -