Two women sentenced after filming man being tortured in hotel room before he fell to his death

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Two women who filmed and posted online the “callous” torture of a man who later fell to his death from a fourth floor holiday unit on the Gold Coast of Australia had “complete disregard” for their involvement, a court has heard.

A 19-year-old woman and a 20-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were sentenced in Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday to one count each of torture and two counts of armed robbery in company.

The two women, who were both 16 years old at the time of the offending, had filmed about five minutes worth of a 27 minute episode where Cian John English and his friend were tortured in a View Pacific Hotel room in Surfers Paradise in the early hours of May 23, 2020.

The court was told English and his friend were invited to the room to join the two young women and Lachlan Paul Soper-Lagas, 21, Jason Ryan Knowles, 25, and Hayden Paul Kratzmann, 23, as they partied while taking a cocktail of prescription and non-prescription drugs.

Soper-Lagas, Knowles, Kratzmann were previously sentenced for the manslaughter of English.

Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco said just before 2 am things changed when Kratzmann began to accuse English and his friend of stealing the drugs.

Cian John English was tortured in a View Pacific Hotel room in Surfers Paradise in the early hours of May 23, 2020.Facebook/Siobhan English
English and his friend were invited to the young women’s room. Facebook/Siobhan English

Despite their protests of innocence, the two friends were then tortured and assaulted for nearly 30 minutes in the room before English tried to flee the unit by escaping over the balcony where he ultimately fell to his death.

The court heard some of the abuse was captured on video by the two women who fronted court on Tuesday.

Marco said the two girls had filmed videos on their phones each varying in length from 7 to 59 seconds in duration.

The court heard that the now 19-year-old woman could be heard saying “this is why you don’t steal from the boys” in one of her videos.

Another video shot by the now 20-year-old showed her ordering English to clean up his own blood from the floor after he’d been assaulted.

Hayden Paul Kratzman, 23, began to accuse English and his friend of stealing the drugs.Facebook/Hayden Kratzman

The court heard the woman had later added text over the video reading “the bad b—h I am making this sad c–t clean his own blood up.”

Marco said both women knew English was “critically injured on the ground” after he fell from the balcony but instead of calling police they packed their belongings and fled the unit.

Marco said the women later uploaded their videos to social media.

The 20-year-old woman’s defence barrister, Angus Edwards, said his client had had a difficult childhood which led to her drug use.

“She was trying to numb the pain, particularly with Xanax which she was heavily using,” Edwards said.

“None of that excuses her behaviour, all it does is explains her lack of empathy on that evening as well as a lack of memory of what occurred.”

Jason Knowles, 25, was previously sentenced for the manslaughter of English along with Soper-Lagas and Kratzmann.Facebook/Jason Knowles
Knowles was also invited into the hotel room were he partied while taking a cocktail of prescription and non-prescription drugs.Facebook/Jason Knowles

Edwards said his client’s videos were “certainly callous” and depicted the “very frightening” moments English and his friend faced in the hotel room

“(She) herself despises the offenders and herself by what she sees in those videos,” Edwards said.

The 19-year-old woman’s defence barrister, Martin Longhurst, said the actions of that night were “shocking and disgraceful”

“My client is aware of that,” Longhurst said.

“She recognises English was dearly loved and missed by his family.

“It’s a family life my client didn’t have growing up.

“It’s accepted she didn’t show remorse or insight on the night or later in the week.”

The court heard the 19-year-old woman had been overheard bragging about the night English died to friends in the weeks following his death.

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Peter Applegarth said he had taken into account the two women were not charged over English’s death or had been responsible for assaulting him or his friend.

He said the entire series of events that led to his death were “cruel” and he couldn’t help but wonder what English would have said if he was alive to give his own victim impact statement to the court.

Lachlan Soper-Lagas, 21, attended the party as well where English died. Facebook/Lachlan Soper-Lagas

“I would expect that I would be having a victim impact statement from him about the physical injuries he suffered and the trauma and the psychological injuries he suffered how his life had changed,” Justice Applegarth said.

“It’s almost cruel thinking about him being alive and thinking about what he’d be saying to the court now but my point is this if he hadn’t died in the unforeseen and unintended way that he did, he would have been victimised.

“His life would not have been the same just as (his friend’s) life hasn’t been the same.”

Justice Applegarth sentenced both women each to two years probation and did not record a conviction.

“As terrible as [English’s death] is, it’s the demeaning conduct and the complete disregard of the dignity of two human beings,” Justice Applegarth said.

“As horrible your behaviour on there was and how despicable you acted after the events….. I am conscious of your remorse.”

Justice Applegarth said the two women’s decision to upload the videos to social media instead of calling emergency services was “completely reprehensible.”

The court heard both women had been banned from using their phones while on bail for these offences and have since remained abstinent from drug use.

English tried to flee the unit by escaping over the balcony where he ultimately fell to his death.Facebook/Cian English

Both women had previously spent less than two weeks each in pre-sentence custody before being released on bail.

Upon hearing their sentence, the two women were hugged by the supporters who embraced them in the courtroom.

English’s mother, Siobhan English, told the court on Tuesday she continued to deal with the painful loss of her “forever hero.”

“The harrowing pain and haunting nightmares of seeing my beautiful boy broken and covered in bandages is an image that will never leave my mind,” she said.

“Cian’s life was taken away without any care or compassion.

“I still can’t bear to think about how he died … it destroys me a little bit every time.

“He was only 19 years young and he was taken away in the most horrific circumstance.

‘He wasn’t ill, it wasn’t an accident. Cian didn’t want to die, he had his whole life ahead of him.

“An entire generation has been altered forever.”

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