On 14 September 2015, Colin Simpson Henderson, who was extradited from the United Kingdom to Australia, collapsed in court in Melbourne, Australia, where he has been charged with 58 rape, assault and aggravated burglary offences, committed in Australia the 1980s. A report is here.
On 11 September 2015, Mr Henderson, who is a dual British-Australian citizen, pleaded guilty to three counts of rape in respect of three victims, and not guilty to the remaining charges, in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Mr Henderson was due to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court again on 14 September 2015. Instead, he was escorted to hospital in an ambulance after he collapsed in Melbourne Custody Centre, located beneath the court. Mr Henderson has a history of respiratory problems. Mr Henderson will reappear in court in October 2015.
Charges against Mr Henderson relate to three separate armed attacks committed on three women in their homes in the suburbs of Melbourne between 1981 and 1984. Monikered the ‘rental rapist’, Mr Henderson allegedly tricked his way into his victims’ homes, after he answered their advertisements for a lodger.
Mr Henderson left Australia in 1996. In June 2014, he was arrested in Peterborough, England, and in September 2014, District Judge Tim Devas ordered Mr Henderson to be extradited to stand trial in Australia.
Mr Henderson appealed his extradition to the High Court in London, on the basis that his extradition would be oppressive because of the time that had passed, and that a lung problem made it risky for him to fly.
On 16 April 2015, Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, sitting in the High Court, rejected Mr Henderson’s appeal. The Court reportedly held that Australian authorities were not to blame for the delay and there was ample protection for defendants in historic sex cases. Accordingly, Mr Henderson’s case fell very far short of amounting to oppression.
Further, the Court held that the alleged extradition offences were ‘very serious’, adding that it was ‘very important that the UK’s international obligations with regard to extradition are respected.’
Mr Henderson was extradited to Australia under police guard on 22 May 2015.