A notorious paedophile has had his jail sentence slashed after his prison diary alleged “inhumane” treatment, including being forced to sleep on the floor with an infected leg and not showering for two weeks, court documents reveal.
Frank Valentine, 82, was the deputy superintendent of two children’s homes in Sydney’s west when he brutally and sexually assaulted several vulnerable victims in the 1970s.
One of two pregnant girls he abused, a 15-year-old student, was taken into “the dungeon” of the institution and raped by Valentine on her first day there.
In 2019, the monster was found guilty of 21 counts of rape, buggery, assault and indecent assault against six teenage girls and one 14-year-old boy.
He was sentenced to an aggregate term of 22 years in prison with a non-parole period of 13 years.
But court documents filed in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal confirm his aggregate sentence has been reduced by two years, partly due to his prison diary revealing “unusually harsh conditions”.
Valentine filed an appeal against his convictions “well out of time” of the legal limit, the judgment read, but was nonetheless successful in having one conviction quashed and was consequently re-sentenced to 20 years in prison with a non-parole period of 12 years.
He is now eligible for release on May 23, 2031, meaning he will have to live beyond age 90 to not die in jail.
But the three re-sentencing judges — Justice John Basten, Justice Catherine Button and Justice Josh Wilson — noted he had “clearly exceeded” the life expectancy of one-to-three years estimated by his longstanding cardiologist in 2019.
The initial aggregate sentence was ruled to be imposed on a “legally incorrect” basis due to an “assumed” penalty for one count.
The new sentence also took into account Valentine’s “significantly more stressful” jail conditions than anticipated due to the Covid pandemic.
“There were lengthy periods of lockdown during which he was not allowed to leave his cell,” the judgment read.
“He kept a diary … It indicates that he was locked in his cell for 155 days during the period from February 2020 through to December 2022. In late May and early June 2022, he had no access to showers for a period of 15 days.
“As these facts are not challenged, they should be accepted for the purposes of re-sentencing. Whatever the possible justification for not providing showers for more than two weeks, it was an inhumane condition of incarceration”.
The re-sentencing judges found Valentine suffered from bruising and swelling to his lower left leg for four weeks in November 2022, when he “lost normal cell accommodation”.
Written in his diary were the words: “had to sleep on (the) floor for 11 days as both bunks (were) occupied, no mattress”.
His diary notes stated that happened when the prison was not locked down.
“Again, such conditions were inhumane,” the judgment read.
The court found Valentine still showed no remorse for his crimes, just as the initial sentencing judge observed.
A father of five and grandfather of nine, Valentine’s unthinkable cruelty began less than a month after he arrived at a children’s home in early 1971.
Giving evidence at his trial, one witness said he slapped her, punched her in the eye and dragged her on the floor while holding her hair.
The re-sentencing judges repeated earlier findings that Valentine’s behaviour was opportunistic and exploitative.
“It was directed against girls (and one boy) in institutions in which he was employed as a custodial officer,” they wrote.
“Several of the offences involved significant levels of physical violence … (he was) operating in a cruel and dismissive way to the detainees under his supervision”.