Back in 2016/2017 period I was following this case so closely, and writing about it for a global audience. Even though it happened a few years ago, it is so relevant today with the hate, sexism and denials happening in the world today. If you all remember, Mengmei Leng was a 26 year old Chinese international student, studying in Sydney and living with her aunt and uncle by marriage (Barrett) in Capsie, Sydney. Barrett sexualised her, stalked her in the house, took videos and pictures of her whilst she changed, slept and showered and eventually stripped her, bound and gagged her, raped and stabbed her (30X) and threw her lifeless naked body 100 kms away in a river like she was nothing. Her body was found by tourists the not long after.
When it was found that Barrett was the sadistic murderer, he was arrested and sentenced to a minimum of 34 years in jail back in December 2017 – which in my opinion is too light of a sentence for what he did. But now, new evidence have come to light and his sentence has been increased to another 20 years, after a USB was found in Strathfield back in 2019 by a member of the public. The USB contained images and videos of Barrett’s horrific actions of the sexual assault on Leng, and the judge sentencing Barrett stated that the videos ( some an hour long and showed Barrett entering Leng’s room before raping her) showed how scared and alarmed Leng was seeing her uncle enter her room. The judge also said that if this evidence was presented at the time of initial sentencing a life sentence would have been imposed.
Please note that Barrett till this day does not seem to feel that he did anything wrong. He has apparently written to Leng’s mother saying that he wished he could turn back time and change, but he was also heard telling a corrections officer that he was in a consensual relationship with Leng and he also blamed his actions on drug use – hence showing no remorse for what he had done. Here is some of what Justice Wilson who presided over Barrett’s sentencing said about the new evidence and Barrett’s conduct (via Sydney Morning Herald):
“That he intended to relive that enjoyment later is clear from the recordings the offender took trouble to make,”
she said, and his disposal of the USB stick indicated “a desire not to get caught”.
“Too frequently men – and it is almost always men – treat women as no more than an object to be used for sexual gratification, disregarding the rights of women to personal integrity and choice,”
The violence perpetuated against women is a major issue and we have more so recently seen this happen as high in the Australian Government. But add on an Asian woman and one who is an international student and the probability gets higher due to the negative stereotypes placed upon Asian women and the fact that many international students have limited local support networks and connections. With COVID-19 racism increasing in Oz and the global pandemic of hate (Atlanta shootings etc), we will only see more attacks of both of predatory and violent nature.
Images via Sydney Morning Herald
To read the original article, please click on: ‘Sadistic’ murderer handed additional sentence after USB revealed rape’