A group of naked and drunk university students were left bloody after they were attacked and held hostage during a hazing ritual in Wagga Wagga.
A NSW District Court heard five university students had participated in the ‘Mott Walk’, a Charles Sturt University hazing ritual in which students are fed alcohol for hours before being abandoned several kilometers from the university campus in Gobbagombalin.
The court heard the five male first-year students were dropped 9kms from the CSU student accommodation in the middle of the night on March 23, 2020 and told to find their way back without their clothes or phones.
While they were walking, they were approached by Carl Derek Little, who threatened them with a gun and ordered them to get on their knees.
One of the students tried to reason with the 30-year-old, the court heard.
“You’re not going to shoot us. You’re not going to shoot (us) here on the side of the road on a public road. That’s just not going to happen, ”the victim told Little.
Little struck him on the side of the head with the gun so the student fell to his knees. When he stood back up, he was struck over the head again with a log.
The court heard Little detained four of the naked men for 35 minutes, during which time he hit them with a piece of wood “in a systematic manner”. One of the students had his face on the ground when Little hit him with a blow so hard that it broke the log.
“During that detention the young men were obliged to be on their knees,” Judge Gordon Lerve told the court.
“There was a threat to kneecap them.”
A fifth student was hit over the head and became unconscious, but the court heard he was not held captive.
The court heard the students were covered in blood, “shook up and really worried” when they finally arrived back at the student accommodation. They were taken to hospital where they were treated for their injuries.
Little faced the NSW District Court on Friday after being found guilty of detaining four university students with the intention of obtaining psychological gratification and causing them actual bodily harm.
The court heard the jury also found he was guilty of recklessly wounding a fifth student who had not been detained.
Judge Lerve said the incident would have been “terrifying” for the five young men.
“Given the presence of the handgun (or replica) and the various threats the level of terror was considerable,” he said.
The judge described the offenses as “spontaneous upon the offender seeing the naked victims”. The court heard Little had used methamphetamine and heroin on the day of the offenses.
About a week after he attacked the first-year university students, Little was arrested for breaking into an apartment in Wagga Wagga and detaining a “very scared” woman to try to avoid being arrested.
He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced for both sets of offenses – a total of seven charges – on Friday.
Judge Lerve noted Little was on bail at the time of the offenses, and has an extensive criminal record which included convictions for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possessing a prohibited weapon and intimidation.
The court heard the 30-year-old had a difficult childhood and his father was a violent man who is currently serving a jail sentence for killing a police officer.
Little started using cannabis at age 10 and escalated to heroin and meth at age 15, the court documents revealed.
Judge Lerve said Little showed “very positive signs” towards long-term rehabilitation after engaging with treatment for his drug addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. The court heard he had also expressed remorse for his actions.
The judge sentenced Little to nine years and nine months in jail, with a non-parole period of six years and four months. His sentence will expire on July 31, 2030.