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Two friends jailed

Two friends jailed


Two men have been sentenced to substantial jail terms, convicted of raping a woman after a 21st birthday party in Balmoral in 2016.

Balmoral's Shaun Bloomfield was sentenced to five years and eight months jail, found guilty of two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.

Former Balmoral man, Luke Merryfull, who has been residing in Highton, was found guilty of one count of rape and sentenced to four years and 10 months jail.

Bloomfield faces a non-parole period of three years and four months, while Merryfull can apply for parole in two years and 10 months.

Appearing at the Melbourne County Court before Judge Gerard Mullaly, the court room was packed with many supporters of the two men.

The court heard that following the 21st birthday party that the two men and the victim attended, some people were gathered in a caravan about 3am.

Bloomfield and Merryfull entered the caravan a short time later, as other parties left.

Both men were known to the victim, they had all been friends for 10 years.

Judge Mullaly said in his findings, that Merryfull suggested a threesome, which was refuted by the victim, saying “no way” and again a short time later no.

Bloomfield approached the woman first, where the first offence is said to have taken place, both men then raped the woman.

Judge Mullaly was thorough in his delivery, telling the court it was no easy task.

“It is no easy task to determine to the criminal standard precisely each of your state of mind at the time of the penetration in that caravan, in the early days of April 2016,” Judge Mullaly said.

“Plainly the jury rejected your evidence and found the third element of the crime of rape, to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

“Having had the considerable benefit of seeing and hearing the victim, I am of the view, in particular, what the victim said and telling you men no, no way, and the things that she did in the difficult circumstances she found herself in, that is initially wedged between you two men.

“I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, that this was not a case of you men genuinely believing she was consenting.

“In my view, each of you knew she was not consenting, but you went ahead, believing or hoping nothing would later come of it all.

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“Such a finding does add to the serious of your crimes, it remains the case that even with a more favourable finding, the gravity of each of the crimes is high.

“The victim was a friend who trusted you to understand and importantly accept her words, that she did not want to have sex with either of you.

“She was entitled to safely enjoy the 21st birthday celebrations of a friend, by drinking and then going off to sleep on the property, with other friends around them.”

He went on to tell the court that the impact on the victim and the family, have been considerable.

In the woman’s victim impact statement, she wrote of hurt, anger, sadness and confusion towards the event and the after effects.

She has continued to see a psychologist fortnightly for the past three years.

Having now moved interstate, the victim also wrote that she had been ostracized by the local community and fears going home to Balmoral to visit her family.

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