Judge declares Gregory Last a dangerous offender
A judge has decided a London man convicted of sexually and physically assaulting two women can be jailed indefinitely and labelled a dangerous offender.
Twenty-eight-year-old Gregory Last was arrested in 2003 and first convicted of the two sexual assaults in 2005. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison the following year.
But his convictions and the sentences were overturned by the Supreme Court in 2009, which ruled that Last should have had two separate trials, instead of one.
Over two more years, two more trials were held and two more convictions handed down for the physical and sexual assaults.
In court on Tuesday, the victims and their families were stunned, finding it hard to believe the ordeal was finally over 10 years after the legal proceeding began.
Michelle Austin was Last’s second victim, she says “it was the hardest thing ever, but this is the first time that I feel like this is over and I can put it behind me.”
Last was 19 when he beat and sexually assaulted Austin, leaving her for dead.
That assault came only a month after the victim known only as S.M. was sexually assaulted, beaten and choked as Last brandished a gun.
The assaults added to Last’s already long list of criminal convictions.
S.M. says “At this point, I hope the indeterminate sentence will not allow him to do it to another woman…I don’t think I was preparing myself for the worst, but I was not expecting this at all.”
Both victims have had to see Last in court countless times and deliver heart-wrenching testimony, reliving horrifying events.
But with the dangerous offender designation now in place, they say it has been worth it.
“This is the best, the absolute best outcome I could ever hope for,” Austin says, “I had hoped this for years and years and then I didn’t hope it anymore because I thought it was impossible and now it’s actually coming true.”
“As much and as traumatizing as it was…I’m glad we went through the second trial. We wouldn’t have gotten the dangerous offender,” adds S.M.
The designation is used for those convicted of the worst crimes with little chance of rehabilitation and means they will likely spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
Austin says “I was not prepared to come here for one more day, one more second. I’m not strong enough to do that anymore, but thankfully, I don’t have to.”