Groomer lied to get into lockdowned West Australia before raping 14-year-old girl in Geraldton motel


A man lied to border authorities when he entered a state in lockdown before he raped a 14-year-old girl he’d groomed online four times in a two-day horror ordeal, a court heard.  

James Robert Sbresni, 21, flew into Western Australia from Victoria in May, 2021, claiming he had family in the state to avoid border restrictions, before he raped the young girl in bushland and at the abandoned Batavia Motor Inne in Geraldton.  

Sbresni, who lived in Preston, Melbourne, had been on bail for grooming a child under 16 for a sexual offence in Ballarat, Victoria, when he snuck into Western Australia.

James Robert Sbresni (pictured), 21, flew into Western Australia in May, 2021, claiming he had family in the state

James Robert Sbresni (pictured), 21, flew into Western Australia in May, 2021, claiming he had family in the state

He told authorities he was moving interstate to be with family but his mother Helen Anderson told the Geraldton District Court last week via video link that they had no family living in Western Australia. 

The address Sbresni gave WA police was the former lodgings of his victim’s family.

The court heard he had been grooming the girl for months via social media, before he met up with her.

He then used a knife against her to carry out the shocking rapes. He was found guilty of two counts of rape this month, while a jury acquitted him of three other rape charges. 

Her evidence in court revealed harrowing details of her attack, the West Australian said. 

‘I woke up with him touching me, I asked him what he was doing, and he … asked if I wanted it or not. When I said ‘no’, he didn’t care. I didn’t scream as the knife was beside him, he eventually stopped,’ the girl said.

Sbresni then raped the young girl in bushland and at the abandoned Batavia Motor Inne in Geraldton (pictured)

Sbresni then raped the young girl in bushland and at the abandoned Batavia Motor Inne in Geraldton (pictured)

The pair had started a friendship over Snapchat and Facebook Messenger four months before the incident, where he sent a naked image of himself to her and they sent each other explicit text messages.

One message said he ‘had condoms’ with him, written while he was in quarantine in WA.

He also called himself ‘baby daddy’ and her ‘baby mama’, the court heard. 

He flew into the state and was given a G2G pass before doing the stint of quarantine, then taking a bus to Geraldton to meet her. 

The convicted rapist appeared in Geraldton Magistrates Court on charges of providing false and misleading information, which he pleaded guilty to. 

It is unclear whether this refers to how he obtained the G2G pass.  

Detective Senior Constable Gareth Lewis said he was investigating how Sbresni came into the state but the details were not revealed in court. 

WA police were asked how Sbresni had gained entry despite having outstanding charges against him.  

Sbresni was found guilty of two counts of rape this month, while a jury acquitted him of three other rape charges

Sbresni was found guilty of two counts of rape this month, while a jury acquitted him of three other rape charges

A WA Police spokesman told the West Australian officers were not able to comment due to the ‘matter progressing in court’. 

The teen was rescued on June 12 at 9pm when police swooped on the abandoned motel and found her in a room on the second floor. 

Her parents had reported to police their concerns for her after her older sister, who lived in Queensland, said she had seen sexualised content on her social media. 

She warned the girl’s mother about messages but the girl lied to her mum and said she was at a friend’s house and not with Sbresni. 

Police Constable Katie Cameron called Sbresni but he told her he was in Melbourne, before authorities tracked his true location down using Telstra telephone towers. 

Sbresni was arrested and will be sentenced on January 27.

Sbresni (pictured) was arrested and will be sentenced on January 27

Sbresni (pictured) was arrested and will be sentenced on January 27



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