Fugitive couple plead guilty to child porn-Craig Stanley and Rebecca Michels

Posted: July 4, 2012 by Robbo in Australia, Convicted, Location, Mugshots, paedophile, Photo, Sentenced, Status, Suspended Sentence, Victoria
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Craig Stanley and Rebecca Michels

Ten months’ jail for child sex offences

Mark Russell

July 4, 2012 – 4:30PM

A man who was on the run with his fiancee for 21 days after a child pornography raid on their Langwarrin home had been a nudist since he was 16, a court heard today.

Craig Stanley would attend nudist swimming nights for adults and children at Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre.

Children aged under 18 have since been barred from attending the fortnightly events.

Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today on child pornography charges.

Stanley, a former soldier and private detective, pleaded guilty to three charges of making, possessing and transmitting child pornography.

Michels pleaded guilty to making child pornography. This charge carries a maximum 10 years’ jail.

Magistrate Jack Vandersteen said the couple had exploited an innocent and vulnerable young girl by taking pornographic photographs of her.

He jailed Stanley for a minimum of 10 months and ordered he be placed on the serious sex offenders register for life. Stanley has been in custody for 229 days since his arrest.

Michels was placed on an 18-month community corrections order and will be on the serious sex offenders register for eight years.

Prosecutor Anne Hassan told the court Michels had moved from Darwin to live with Stanley in January last year.

The couple had been in a relationship when Michels was in her teens and got back together after Stanley contacted her again.

Police raided their home on October 27 last year after a tip-off from the FBI and found Stanley’s large collection of child pornography, including more than 17,000 photographs and 531 videos.

The collection included a total of 279 home-made pornographic photographs of a young girl taken over a two-year period from when she was aged from about seven to 10 years old.

Ten of the photos were of the young girl and Michels taken on August 27 last year during two photo sessions when they were both naked.

When later interviewed by police, the young girl said Stanley had given her gifts, including a pink hippopotamus.

Ms Hassan said Stanley had been “grooming” the young girl.

“She’s a deeply exploited child in my submission,” the prosecutor said.

She urged Mr Vandersteen not to accept a psychological report which claimed Stanley was not a paedophile and his risk of re-offending was low.

Stanley and Michels were on the run for 21 days after the police raid on their home before being arrested in Dimboola, near Horsham, on November 18.Defence lawyer Jim Dounias, for S

Tanley, told the court the young girl had been photographed naked after nights spent at the Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre night-time nudist swimming sessions.

Asked by Mr Vandersteen why Stanley crossed the line and start to take pornographic pictures of the young girl, Mr Dounias said it was unclear.

Mr Vandersteen said that at some point Stanley had gained the child’s trust to do what she did.

“This doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” he said.

Mr Dounias said the line was crossed in the setting of “a nudist environment” as the young girl would regularly go along to the nudist swimming sessions.

He said Stanley accepted full responsibility for what had happened and Michels was not to blame.

Fugitive couple plead guilty to child porn

Shannon Deery

From: Herald Sun

July 04, 2012 1:52PM

A FUGITIVE couple who spent 21 days on the run after police raided their home last year have pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.

Craig Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, were arrested in Dimboola in November after a three-week police hunt for the pair.

The couple fled after a police raid of their home sparked by a tip off from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

At the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today it was alleged more than 80,000 pornographic images were uncovered during the raids.

Of them more than 17,000 images and 531 videos depicting child pornography, including children as young as one-year-old, were found.

Prosecutor Anne Hassan told the court some images showed Michels posing naked and semi-naked with a 10-year-old girl.

The court heard Michels appeared naked alongside the girl in 10 images.

Ms Hassan said it was believed the girl was as young as seven when the first naked photos of her were taken in 2009.

It was alleged the girl’s father and stepmother were also naked in some of the 279 images that were taken over a two-year period and showed close-up shots of the girl’s genitals.

The court heard the couples were nudists who met at a public pool.

As a result of police inquiries the other couple are also facing charges.

Michels, who is on bail, pleaded guilty to one count of making child porn.

Her parents walked out of court as details of the charges were read out.

Stanley, who is in custody, pleaded guilty to three charges including making, possessing and transmitting child porn.

Other charges against the pair were dropped.

Ms Hassan said the young girl told police Stanley and Michels were her “aunty and uncle” and that her dad “doesn’t do anything to hurt me”.

She said the girl, who appeared “distressed” during a police interview, was a “deeply exploitive child”.

The court heard the girl was involved in a series of photo “sessions” with one allegedly lasting up to five hours.

Images depicting the girl were all deemed to be in a low category of child pornography, the court heard.

But some images downloaded by Stanley included sadism and bestiality, it was alleged.

Jim Dounias, for Stanley, said his client had been “immersed in pornography” since the age of 13.

“We don’t blame Ms Michels for anything, we take full responsibility for everything,” he said.

Mr Dounias said while more than 17,000 images of child pornography were allegedly found on Stanley’s computer, he had not viewed all the content.

But Magistrate Jack Vandersteen questioned why it had been downloaded at all.

“How do you download stuff and not look at it and not know what you’re doing?” he said.

Michels will be assessed for a community corrections order this afternoon.

The couple are expected to be sentenced later today.

Fugitive couple pleads guilty to various charges

ABC Updated July 4, 2012, 1:11 pm

A Melbourne court has heard a couple who evaded police for three weeks during a child pornography investigation, gave gifts to a young girl who posed in photos with them.

The Magistrates Court was told Rebecca Michels and Craig Stanley went on the run late last year before being arrested near Dimboola, in Victoria’s north west.

The two were in court today as prosecutors outlined the case against them.

The court heard 28 year old Stanley is a private detective, who was in possession of more than 17 thousand graphic images, including some with children as young as one.

Prosecutors also said the couple made their own child pornography, using a girl known to them, who was between 7 and 10 years of age.

The court heard Michels and Stanley gave the girl gifts when they returned from holidays to Darwin and Hollywood.

The couple has pleaded guilty to a range of offences,

Former fugitives Craig Stanley and Rebecca Michels to plead guilty to making child pornography

Norrie Ross

From: Herald Sun

May 18, 2012 12:51PM

A COUPLE who sparked a 21-day nationwide manhunt when they went on the run after a police raid have admitted they were involved in making child pornography, a court heard today.

Lawyers for Rebecca Michels, 25, and Craig Stanley, 28, of Frankston, indicated they will plead guilty to charges when their case is before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court again in July.

Michels, who was in court today, will plead guilty to one count of making child pornography and Stanley will plead guilty to charges of making, possessing and transmitting child pornography.

Magistrate Jack Vandersteen agreed to a request from defence lawyers that he grant summary jurisdiction in the case, meaning the couple will not have to face the County Court for plea and sentencing.

Mr Vandersteen continued Michels’ bail and he was told that Stanley may apply for bail in the next few weeks.

Michels and Stanley fled after police seized more than 40,000 images and about 400 videos of child pornography from their Frankston home.

They were eventually arrested in Dimboola, near Horsham, in November last year.

An earlier court hearing was told Michels loved Stanley but she pleaded with strangers to alert the police so they would be found.

Sen-Det Rosemary Ross told the earlier court appearance that Michels described Stanley as a “sex fiend”.

Computer files seized from the couple’s home revealed 76 images of a naked and semi-naked Ms Michels, who looks much younger than her years.

In a number of photos, she was posing with a 10-year-old girl.

“The accused is laughing and she appeared to be a willing participant,” the detective said.

After three weeks on the run Michels waited until Stanley left their bush camp site to obtain supplies before revealing to strangers that they were fugitives.

Mr Vandersteen adjourned the case until July 4.

Child-porn runaway accused in court

Mark Russell

April 26, 2012 – 12:22PM

A woman who allegedly went on the run with her fiance for 21 days after a child porn raid on their Langwarrin home travelled from Darwin to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today.

Prosecutor Marisa DiPietrantonio told the court more time was need to resolve discussions with lawyers for Rebecca Michels, 25.

Ms DiPietrantonio said the issues in contention were “quite defined”.

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Magistrate Felicity Broughton adjourned the matter for a committal case conference on May 18.

Bail for Ms Michels, who has been living with her family in Darwin, was continued.

Ms Michels’ fiance, Craig Stanley, 28, later appeared via video link and was remanded in custody to also appear on May 18.

The couple have been charged with making, possessing and transmitting child pornography, and committing indecent acts with a child under 16.

Ms Michels was granted bail at her court appearance in December when her father agreed to put up a $100,000 surety.

During this previous hearing, the court was told the couple had been on the run for 21 days after police raided their Langwarrin home.

Police had seized computer files which allegedly included 76 images of a naked and semi-naked Ms Michels and in several photographs she was posing with a 10-year-old girl.

Thousands of other child pornography images were allegedly found on computers taken from their home.

Ms Michels and Mr Stanley were arrested at a bush camp 400 kilometres north-west of Melbourne on November 18.

Run-away Frankston pair in court on child porn counts

Mark Russell

March 23, 2012 – 1:18PM

A woman who allegedly went on the run with her fiance for 21 days after a child porn raid on their Langwarrin home appeared in court today via videolink from Darwin where she is on bail.

Rebecca Michels, 25, appeared before Magistrate Duncan Reynolds, who was told the matter needed to be adjourned for ongoing plea negotiations.

Ms Michels, who told the court she had hired a lawyer from Sydney, agreed for her case to be put off until April 26.

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Her fiance, Craig Stanley, 28, also appeared via videolink where his defence lawyer Jim Dounias told the court there were a number of matters to be sorted out.

“There are some unusual aspects to this case,” Mr Dounias said.

Mr Stanley was also remanded to appear again on April 26.

The couple have been charged with making, possessing and transmitting child pornography, and committing indecent acts with a child under 16.

Ms Michels was granted bail at her last court appearance in December when her father agreed to put up a $100,000 surety and the prosecution submitted she was not expected to offend again on bail.

During this previous hearing, the court was told the couple had been on the run for 21 days after police had raided their Langwarrin home.

Police had seized computer files which allegedly revealed 76 images of a naked and semi-naked Ms Michels and in a number of photographs she was posing with a 10-year-old girl.

There were allegedly thousands of other child pornography images found on computers taken from their home.

Ms Michels and Mr Stanley were arrested at a bush camp 400 kilometres north-west of Melbourne on November 18.

City swim centre linked to child porn case

BY ANNA WHITELAW

21 Dec, 2011 01:00 AM

MARIBYRNONG Council is threatening to permanantly shut down a regular, night-time nudist swimming session at a public pool, after a couple who attended were later found in possession of child pornography.

Langwarrin couple Craig Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, face charges relating to possessing child pornography, producing child porn and performing an indecent act with a child.

Court documents from Michels’ bail hearing revealed the couple appeared in dozens of photos posing semi-naked and naked with a 10-year-old girl.

The parents of the 10-year-old – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – also appear in the photos. Both couples are believed to have attended Solar West naturist club’s fortnightly swimming nights at Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre. A club spokesman, who declined to be named, confirmed Stanley had been a member of the club “years previously” and attended a swim night once in May this year.

One of the parents was also believed to have attended that night session. It was not known whether the child was also present.

After the allegations emerged, the council met with the club, the spokesman said.

Earlier this month, the council informed the club its night sessions were “suspended indefinitely” until the court case had been resolved, a club spokesman said.

Solar West naturist club had been running regular nudist swim nights every second Saturday at the Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre for over 20 years “without incident”, he said.

The spokesman said the club had no knowledge or involvement, and police had not contacted them.

He said Solar West had been unfairly implicated. “Like any social or sports club, we are not responsible for our members. What they do in their own time is nothing to do with us,” the spokesman said.

He maintained “nothing untoward or suspicious” took place in May. “There is nothing sexual about [the naturist] lifestyle,” he added.

It is not known whether the two couples met at the swim night or previously knew each other.

Court documents revealed the parents had “made admissions” relating to taking photographs with their daughter.

Michels and Stanley were arrested in Dimboola in November. They had gone missing after being linked to an FBI child porn investigation.

Police found the photos of the girl along with 40,000 images alleged to be child pornography when they seized computers and cameras in October.

The parents of the child are yet to be formally charged but were expected to be charged on summons.

Girl’s parents linked to porn case

Anna Whitelaw

December 11, 2011

POLICE have seized computers belonging to the parents of a 10-year-old girl who appeared nude in photos with Frankston couple Craig Stanley and Rebecca Michels.

The parents, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were questioned by police after they were found to appear in nude photographs with their daughter.

Stanley, 28, and Michels, 25, face charges relating to possessing child pornography and producing child pornography, as well as committing an indecent act with a child.

Police found the images of the girl when they confiscated computers and cameras from the Langwarrin couple’s home after an email address associated with the couple was linked to an FBI investigation into an online child porn ring.

Stanley and Michels went missing after police searched their home, and were arrested in Dimboola following a 21-day manhunt.

Court documents from Michels’ bail hearing revealed the 10-year-old’s parents had ”made admissions” to being involved in taking the photographs with their daughter.

Both couples appeared in the photographs naked with the girl. They are believed to have attended a regular nudist swimming night held at a Maribyrnong public swimming pool.

The parents of the girl have yet to be charged but are expected to be charged on summons.

Detective Leading Senior Constable Rosemary Ross, from Frankston police’s sex offences unit, said the parents were co-operating with police. ”[The girl’s parents] are the subject of an ongoing investigation,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Solar West naturist club confirmed Stanley and Michels had attended its nudist night in May, along with one of the 10-year-old’s parents.

Maribyrnong City Council had ”suspended indefinitely” the swim nights following the allegations, the spokesman said.

Michels and Stanley both face committal hearings on February 24. Michels has been released on $100,000 bail, while Mr Stanley has yet to apply for bail.

The girl has been taken into the care of the Department of Human Services.

Fugitive woman ‘posed naked with 10yo girl’

Yahoo!7 December 2, 2011, 3:20 pm

Detectives say the Victorian couple on the run from police last month were both naked in photos with a ten-year-old girl.

The woman allegedly involved, Rebecca Michels, 25, has now been granted bail until her child pornography charges are heard.

Ms Michels and her fiance Craig Stanley, 28, were on the run for three weeks last month after police raided their Langwarrin home.

The couple were arrested at a campsite near Dimboola in western Victoria after Ms Michels asked a fellow camper to tip off police as to her whereabouts.

The accused says she then left a trail so police could track them down, and she described Stanley as a sex fiend.

Today, police told the Magistrates’ Court they found tens of thousands of child pornography images on computers at the couple’s home.

Senior Detective Rosemary Ross told the court Ms Michels appears in 76 of them, and in a number of the photographs she was posing with a 10-year-old child.

Many also feature Stanley and the girl’s parents, who have been charged by police, the court heard.

The girl is now in the care of the Department of Human Services.

Ms Michels’ stepfather has put up $100,000 in surety and she was granted bail to live with her parents in Darwin.

Outside court, Ms Michels’ barrister, Ben Archibold, said: “They’ll be happy to take her back to the Northern Territory. She’ll be safe and well with them and she’ll return to fight the matter before the court.”

Detectives still have to go through another 40,000 photos found on computers seized from the couple’s home in a process likely to take months.

The images are so graphic and disturbing, police can only look at them for a couple of hours at a time.

The court also heard the Dimboola supermarket owner, who reported seeing Craig Stanley, had since received a threatening letter.

It read: ‘In the bikie world, give up snitches like you are dealt with a broken arm or leg, but in your case, we’ll just burn ya shop down.”

Rebecca Michels tipped off campers she was on the run, court told

By Norrie Ross

Herald Sun

December 02, 2011 2:23PM

A WOMAN who went on the run with her fiancé after a child porn raid on their Frankston home pleaded with people to alert the police so they would be found, a magistrate heard today.

Sen-Det Rosemary Ross told a bail hearing that seized computer files revealed 76 images of a naked and semi-naked Rebecca Michels, 25, and in a number of photographs she was posing with a 10-year-old girl.

Thousands of other child pornography images, some of the most extreme and upsetting kind, had been found on computers taken from their home.

Sen-Det Ross said that after 21 days on the run Ms Michels waited until co-accused and partner Craig Stanley, 28, left their camp site to obtain supplies before revealing to members of the public that they were fugitives.

Ms Michels said that if Mr Stanley found out police were on to them he would “do a runner or harm himself” and she said he would never be found because he was army trained.

Sen-Det Ross said that when police arrived at Dimboola she told them they lived on carp and baked beans and they planned to survive on $100 a week which would last them until 2012.

“She was aware police were looking for them both but they did not want to be found and wanted to spend as much time together until police found them both, because she loved him,” the detective told Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Dan Muling today grant bail to Ms Michels after hearing her father would put up a $100,000 surety and a prosecution submission they did not believe she would offend again while on bail.

Mr Muling ordered that Ms Michels live with her family in Darwin, she was ordered to forfeit her passport and he also said she could not contact her co-accused or access the internet except for work.

Ms Michels and Mr Stanley were arrested at a bush camp, 400km northwest of Melbourne on November 18

Mr Stanley was nabbed while shopping for groceries in a Dimboola supermarket.

They were charged with making, possessing and transmitting child pornography, and committing indecent acts with a child under 16.

Ms Michels, who is tiny and has a child-like stature, smiled and nodded from the prisoner’s dock to her father, Ross McAdie, who travelled to Melbourne for the bail hearing.

Sen-Det Ross said the FBI alerted Australian Federal Police that a number of child pornography images had been uploaded to a website from an email address in Australia that contained the word “lolitasforever”.

On October 27 police raided the Langwarrin home of Mr Stanley and Ms Michels and seized a number of computers and storage devices and two days later the couple went missing after telling friends they were going gold prospecting near Ballarat.

Sen-Det Ross said that examination of the computer files revealed a number of images of Ms Michels, Mr Stanley and two other adults sitting naked on a couch together with a 10-year-old girl.

As a result of police inquiries the other couple are facing charges and the child is in the care of the DHS.

Under cross examination from defence barrister James Trevallion the detective said it appeared Mr Stanley was a “controlling person” and a witness had described him as being possessive.

But Sen-Det Ross said that in the pornographic images with the child Ms Michel appeared to enjoying herself.

“The accused is laughing and she appeared to be a willing participant,” the detective said.

Outside court Ms Michels’ solicitor, Ben Archbold said his client was happy to be allowed to return to her family in Darwin until the case continues next year.

Frankston woman released on bail as police sift through child porn images

Nino Bucci

December 2, 2011 – 12:44PM

A Frankston woman who led police on a three-week search has been released on bail.

Lawyers for Rebecca Michels, 25, successfully argued she was not a flight risk after she and fiance Craig Stanley were found at a campsite in Victoria’s west on November 19.

Michels is charged with one count of an indecent act with a child under 16, two counts of having made or produced child pornography, and one count of knowingly having possessed child pornography.

Stanley, 28, faces five similar charges, including one count of an indecent act with a child under 16 after police allegedly found 40,000 child pornography images, including depictions of sadism, beastiality and humiliation which can include bondage. Police have also have been analysing about 400 videos.

It will be alleged that Michels posed naked and in various states of undress in 76 photos with a 10-year-old, her partner and two other adults, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard today.

Detective Leading Senior Constable Rosemary Ross told the court Michels was in various positions  in the photographs but they did not depict sexual activity.

The couple had been missing from their Langwarrin home in Melbourne’s south-east following a police raid on October 27, sparking a statewide search and appeals from Michels’ distraught family.

Michels was  granted bail on a $100,000 surety and on the condition she reside with her family in Darwin, where she is originally from.

Lawyer, James Trevallion, argued the fact Michels’ had given herself up to police while camping in Dimboola meant that if bailed she would not be flight risk.

“A person doesn’t give themselves up so that later if they’re granted bail they can flee,” Mr Trevallion said.

“It doesn’t make sense.”

Senior Constable Ross said police were concerned that witnesses had been intimidated, as the manager of the Dimboola IGA, where Stanley was caught by police, had been sent a death threat.

Stanley has made no application for bail and remains in custody.

Frankston couple arrested after FBI tip

by: Anthony Dowsley

From: Herald Sun

November 29, 2011 12:00AM

A FRANKSTON couple who spent 21 days on the run were the target of a police operation tipped off by the FBI.

Craig Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, who were arrested in Dimboola on November 18, were raided after photos allegedly depicting child pornography were detected by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A subsequent raid and seizure of computers led to a second couple – who knew Mr Stanley and Ms Michels – being investigated.

It is believed both couples are nudists and met at a public pool during a naked swimming night.

Some charges emanate from a later gathering at a house in Melbourne’s west.

It is not known if the second couple have been formally interviewed by police.

The FBI allegedly found transmissions from a computer, which were tracked to an internet protocol address – a registered number attached to computers and other devices.

The FBI notified the Australian Federal Police, which sent the information to Victoria Police, which executed warrants on a Langwarrin property on October 27.

The Langwarrin couple were charged with crimes involving a minor aged between 10 and 16.

Both Mr Stanley and Ms Michels have applied for bail.

Mr Stanley is listed to appear in court today and Ms Michels on Wednesday.

Part of what has been recovered is a 15-second video, which allegedly shows a naked 10-year-old.

More than 30,000 images have been analysed by police.

Ms Michels was apparently unaware of the national manhunt for her and her fiance.

Craig Stanley, 28, and fiance Rebecca Michels, 25, plan to ask for bail

by: Shannon Deery

From: Herald Sun

November 22, 2011 12:00AM

A COUPLE who were the targets of a 21-day manhunt before being arrested and charged with child porn offences plan to ask for bail.

Craig Stanley, 28, and fiance Rebecca Michels, 25, briefly faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court yesterday, at separate hearings.

They were arrested last week after they were found at a bush camp, 400km northwest of Melbourne.

They were charged with making, possessing and transmitting child pornography, and committing indecent acts with a child under 16. Mr Stanley was charged with posing naked for photographs with a child under 16.

They had disappeared last month after police raided their Langwarrin home and seized their computers.

An alleged victim had spoken to police.

Mr Stanley’s lawyer, Jim Dounias, told the court his client was entitled to the presumption of innocence, and he was concerned media coverage could prejudice any trial.

He said a bail application would be made next Tuesday.

Spiros Prapas, for Ms Michels, said she also planned to ask for bail.

The couple were arrested last week after campers in Little Desert National Park reported them to police.

They were remanded in custody until next week.

Couple in court on child porn charges

Adam Cooper

November 21, 2011

Couple in court on child porn charges

A Langwarrin couple arrested last Friday, weeks after they disappeared, have been remanded in custody to return to court next week.

Craig Stanley, 28, and Rebecca Michels, 25, were last week charged with child sex offences and today separately fronted Melbourne Magistrates Court.

The couple was arrested last Friday in Dimboola, in north-west Victoria, after they disappeared a day after Michels’ birthday last month.

Stanley has been charged with five offences, including committing an indecent act with a child under 16, and making child pornography.

He wore a grey t-shirt with a logo on the front and kept his head bowed during his brief court hearing.

Stanley’s lawyer, Jim Dounias, requested details of the case not be released to the media as the couple’s disappearance had already attracted “sufficient publicity” and that there was more information to be released.

“There is a great deal of water to go under the bridge before matters are determined,” Mr Dounias said.

But magistrate Lance Martin allowed details of the charges to be released, as the media’s request was nothing out of the ordinary.

The court heard Stanley planned to apply for bail in his next court appearance.

Michels was also remanded in custody to reappear next Tuesday, but her lawyer, Ben Archbold, did not say whether his client planned to apply for bail.

Michels, who wore a grey zip up jacket, kept her head down throughout the hearing except for an occasional glance to her parents and at one stage wiped a tear away with her sleeve.

As she was escorted out of the dock, Michels mouthed the words “I love you” to her parents, who were in the gallery.

Stanley was arrested while shopping for groceries in a supermarket after the store owner recognised him from a police description.

Michels was arrested soon after at a campsite by the Wimmera River, in the Little Desert National Park. Stanley led police to Michels.

Missing couple arrested

|  November 19th, 2011

A FRANKSTON couple have appeared in court and been charged with indecent acts and making child pornography.

Craig Stanley, 28, a former Geelong gaol employee, and Rebecca Michels, 25, appeared separately before Horsham Magistrates’ Court yesterday afternoon after being arrested yesterday morning following three weeks on the run.

Both have been charged with indecent acts with a child under 16, making child pornography, possessing child pornography and transmitting child pornography.

The pair have been remanded in custody to appear on Monday at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

The couple was arrested after a tip-off from campers who spotted their bush hideaway in Dimboola, almost 400km northwest of Melbourne.

Mr Stanley was spotted at an IGA supermarket and arrested about 9.40am.

Police then went to a campsite at a nearby national park where they arrested Ms Michels, his fiancee, in Dimboola about an hour later.

Police said other campers also in the national park raised the alarm after recognising the pair from media reports.

They had been holed up in a bush campsite on a river bed in the Dimboola National Park, police said.

Speaking outside the Frankston Police Station, Detective Inspector Shayne Pannell said police had made contact with the couples’ families.

He said police were uncertain how long the pair had been camping, but said it had been at least “several days”.

He said the pair appeared to have lost some weight, but had not attempted to disguise their appearance and were both arrested without incident.

“It was an approach to Craig, (he was) identified and taken into custody. When police attended the campsite on the river bank, Rebecca came forward and identified herself,” he said.

The couple had been aware of the media coverage about their case, but he was unsure whether that included pleas for them to come forward from their families.

Ms Michel’s father, Ross McAdie, told the Herald Sun that her family was “very, very relieved” they had been found safe.

“It’s been a long time,” he said.

“We haven’t spoken to her yet, but from a parent’s point of view you hope every minute of the day it was going to end. Thankfully we are there.”

Mr McAdie was due to fly from Darwin to Melbourne, with wife Patricia, last night or this morning.

“Now we can turn our attention to defending the allegations,” he said.

Police arrest missing Frankston couple

Jordan Oliver, Amelia Elliston, Andy Park, Adam Cooper

November 18, 2011

A Frankston couple on the run for three weeks have been arrested in Dimboola and charged with sex offences after one of the pair was spotted in a supermarket.

Police say Craig Stanley was identified and arrested at the supermarket in the western Victorian town at 10.40am.

His fiancee, Rebecca Michels, was arrested soon after at a bush campsite in the nearby Little Desert National Park.

At a media conference this afternoon, Detective Inspector Shayne Pannell from Victoria Police said the couple came willingly but looked thinner than usual.

‘‘We were tipped off by campers at the national park and they alerted local police, then we searched the area and that’s when we came across Craig in a local supermarket … I take it that they were aware they were wanted.”

Michels, 25, faced the first bail hearing on four charges – one count of an indecent act with a child under 16, two counts of having made or produced child pornography and one count of knowingly having possessed child pornography.

She did not apply for bail but Magistrate Richard Pithouse noted Michels had never been arrested before and told police to note that because of the nature of her charges she was at risk in the prison system.

Michels sat in the dock quietly with her head down during the bail hearing.

Stanley faced five charges, including one count of an indecent act with a child under 16, two counts of having made or produced child pornography and two counts of knowingly having possessed child pornography.

Stanley also made no application for bail and Mr Pithouse told police again to note that because of the nature of his charges he was at risk in the prison system.

Both were remanded in custody to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.

Stanley led officers to Michels, her lawyer Ben Archbold said.

The couple went missing last month following a raid on a house. Police said they executed search warrants on the couple’s Langwarrin home on October 27, the day of their disappearance.

Mr Archbold said he was extremely relieved his client had been arrested.

‘‘This is the first time I’ve been happy for one of my clients to be arrested because now I know she is safe and well,’’ he said. ‘‘Obviously there was serious concerns for the welfare of both of them.

‘‘We were just hoping they didn’t do anything to themselves.

‘‘Because this is a unique situation, I’ve spoken to the parents and I’m being instructed by them. But I still have to speak to my client.

‘‘I’ve spoken to the father. The police have been fantastic, they let the family know as soon as the two of them were found,’’ he said.

‘‘He was in getting food in the supermarket. The police have then been called, they’ve come, they’ve arrested him and they’ve said ‘where is she’ and he’s led them to a camp in the national park.’’

The couple initially told friends they planned to go camping at Bendigo, before using a hire car to travel to Ballarat.

Stanley, 28, a private detective and former defence force recruit, arranged for the rented gold Nissan X-Trail to be taken back to Frankston by a car transport firm in Ross Creek.

Clothing, camping gear and a metal detector were inside the rental car when it was returned.

Police say the circumstances surrounding the case were particularly strange.

Earlier this month, The Age revealed that Stanley had a fascination with ghost hunting, scanning country Victoria in search of the paranormal.

Shortly after the couple went missing, family and friends set up a Facebook page, pleading for them to come home.

The page had more than 3000 members when it was shut down – about the time police revealed the pair were fugitives rather than missing persons.

‘‘They have been aware of the media coverage but I’m not sure about their knowledge about their family and how much contact they’ve had with the outside world,’’ Inspector Pannell said.

‘‘I’ve had my detectives contact both families and they are both relieved, like we are, that they’re well fed and alive.’’

Michels’ father, Ross McAdie, this morning told radio station 3AW that he was ‘‘completely ecstatic’’  his daughter had been found.

He said he was yet to speak to Ms Michels and thanked police for acting quickly at a ‘‘very trying time’’.

‘‘I’m assured by our solicitor that we should be able to speak to her today.’’

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Comments
  1. Stacia says:

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    or perhaps something similar (can’t quite remember exactly). Anyways, I’m grateful I found it
    simply because your content is exactly what I’m searching for (writing a university paper) and I hope you don’t mind if I gather
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