Killer rapist’s terrifying love quest
He looks like an ordinary, middle-aged man but Jamie John Curtis is a monster.
This photograph, a screenshot from a dating profile Curtis set up under an alias and obtained by news.com.au, is the first image of the convicted killer rapist ever published in the media.
The 63-year-old was paroled last year after serving 32 years of a life sentence for one of the country's most horrific crimes: the abduction, repeated rape and torture of a young couple over 12 hours that culminated in the man's murder.
But within days of walking free from Tasmania's notorious Risdon Prison in June, Curtis had set up at least five online dating profiles under fake names, romancing a string of women clueless about his evil past.
One of those women, Sharon (surname withheld by news.com.au), fell in love with him but within six weeks of their first meeting he allegedly beat her, according to a police report made by her terrified adult children.
Curtis was returned to jail for three months for breaching bail conditions but, with time served, is expected to walk free any day now. When he does, Sharon says she will be waiting for him.
The 53-year-old says she and Curtis are now engaged and intends to fight a year-long restraining order that prevents the couple from seeing each other until September 2019.
The order was granted after police told a court they feared Curtis was "likely to further assault, cause serious injury or death to (Sharon)".
'SERIOUS DANGER TO THE COMMUNITY'
Police told the court they fear Curtis has the potential to kill his new fiancee but are powerless to stop him without Sharon's co-operation, or keep him behind bars.
A parole hearing due to take place in the coming days is expected to result in Curtis walking free from jail for the third time in less than a year.
On Wednesday, a Hobart magistrate jailed him for three months for parole and community order breaches but with time served he could be released as soon as next week.
His victims' relatives have been in a state of fear and fury since Curtis strolled out of the maximum security Risdon Prison in June last year.
Despite their pleas to keep him locked up, Curtis was granted parole after serving 32 years of what was supposed to be a life sentence for crimes described by a judge as "among the worst one is likely to encounter".
In February 1986, Curtis, then aged 30, and his 16-year-old co-offender abducted a 15-year-old delivery girl on her paper round in Hobart with the intention of raping her but she managed to escape from the boot of their car before they could.
Hours later, they forced their way into the home of Dean Allie, 22, and his 19-year-old fiancee.
Over the next 12 hours they repeatedly raped and tortured the young woman in front of Mr Allie while also subjecting him to horrific acts of violence involving beatings and boiling water.
Then the brothers drove their victims 50km to the township of Gretna, where they stabbed Mr Allie 12 times, until he was dead.
In sentencing Curtis, then-chief justice William Cox described his sadistic acts as "sustained course of brutal abduction, assault, sexual abuse and ultimately murder". He noted the attack was "unprovoked, brutal, prolonged, indiscriminate and callous".
"In the scale of seriousness of criminal conduct culminating in murder, this case ranks amongst the worst one is likely to encounter," Justice Cox said at the time.
He said Curtis represented a serious danger to the community, especially when intoxicated, which warranted protection of the public from him for the rest of his life.
But those words seem hollow now given Curtis has repeatedly breached his parole conditions by failing to tell the police he had a mobile phone, internet access, at least five online dating accounts, a Facebook account and the details of vehicles he was using.
'I FELT PHYSICALLY ILL AFTER FINDING OUT WHO HE WAS'
Just days after walking free from jail, Curtis went on a mission to find a girlfriend, signing up to at least five websites including Zoosk, Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, Be2 and BeNaughty for three months between June and August last year.
News.com.au understands Curtis used several aliases for his dating profiles, telling women he was 51 - 12 years younger than his true age - and met others via a Facebook account set up under the name Steve Johnson.
A photo on one of his dating profiles - published by news.com.au for the first time today - is the only known image of him obtained by the media.
It was screenshot by a woman who believed she was having dinner with a tradesman called "John" who was visiting from interstate.
"We met on a dating site and only caught up once," the woman, who does not want to be named because she is scared of Curtis, told a friend.
"He said he was a spray painter or a panel beater I can't remember which. I met him in July which must have been just after his release. I felt physically ill last night (after finding out who he was).
"Should people like him be allowed on dating sites portraying themselves as someone they aren't?"
His success in keeping his image out of the media for more than three decades prevented the women he pursued from recognising him as Tasmania's most notorious killer.
But one of those women, Sharon, fell in love with him, taking extended leave from her job near Burnie in the state's northwest to stay with Curtis in the scenic Hobart suburb of Sandy Bay.
While his surviving victims and their families spent their days in fear looking over their shoulders, Curtis enjoyed life with his new girlfriend - who was fully aware of his murderous history from their second meeting.
'I'M SORRY FOR FALLING IN LOVE WITH HIM'
News.com.au has learned that shortly after he was freed, Curtis scored a cleaning job at Sandy Bay, earning enough money to rent a flat.
In August, Sharon took extended leave from her job and went to stay with Curtis in his Long Point Rd flat in a unit block owned by one of Tasmania's richest property moguls.
Once locals became aware of the killer in their midst, the couple's "honeymoon period" ended. Curtis' address was posted online and someone stole his prized ute and set it alight.
Women who had dated him after meeting him online before Sharon came on the scene, shared details of their encounters with the convicted killer with a vigilante site dedicated to unmasking criminals in the community.
On September 19, just six weeks after Sharon's first meeting with Curtis, her adult children walked into Burnie Police Station with a disturbing story. They alleged their mother had been seriously assaulted by Curtis, leaving her with a black eye and a swollen, bruised face and hand.
Police allege Sharon told her children Curtis had "flipped out" when she said she wanted to leave, telling her "do you think that I'm f**king silly, you're not leaving".
But when they went to interview her, Sharon refused to co-operate, telling police she injured herself after "too many Sambucas" and bruised her hand after accidentally dropping a bottle of shampoo on it.
Detectives, fearing Curtis could kill again, took out a year-long restraining order against him, which bars the couple from seeing each other until September.
"I believe (Curtis) is likely to further assault, cause serious injury or death to (Sharon) if his current behaviour continues," Burnie police said in documents tendered to court.
Messages from Sharon obtained by news.com.au show her berating members of a Facebook justice forum for "creating sh*t" and getting Curtis sent back to jail - albeit temporarily.
"I'm sorry for falling in love with him because I don't see him as the person you do," she wrote.
"The real fact is you all just want him locked up. Has anyone of yous (sic) just thought for one minute would I truly be fighting for any of this if he had did (sic) what he was supposed to have done to me?"
"Nobody is saying anything 32 years ago that happened was right … but I don't know that person. The person I know is nothing like you are saying.
"And yes I will be sticking by Jamie because THIS time he has done nothing wrong. So I'm asking all of yous (sic) to mind your own business and let us get on with ours."
Outside Hobart Magistrate's Court during a hearing last September, Sharon declared her intention to fight the restraining order preventing her from seeing Curtis, whom she insisted had never laid a finger on her.
"My daughter said to me 'if it was me … and I went to live with a killer and didn't answer my phone, what would you think?'," she told a reporter from the Mercury.
"I understand that my family, through what they've read through media, would make them feel the way they feel. I realise that.
"But I also know that Jamie's spent 32 years in jail paying for what he did. Now no matter what he says and he does people just judge him on that.
"It's in the past. I know it doesn't make it right but it can't be changed. The only thing that can be changed is if he gets on with his life."
Sharon explained the injuries on her face by saying: "Sambuca shooters and me don't agree" and said a bruise on her hand had come from accidentally "dropping a bottle of shampoo on it".
"He's not the person that people think he is," she said. "He's kind and protective. He doesn't show any of whatever people think that he's like. He's never been violent to me."
Sharon said Curtis told her about his past on their second meeting and admits she had second thoughts.
"But honestly I know when you click with somebody it's not something you can change or how you feel about someone," she said.
"I want the restraint order taken away. You can't charge someone for something that he never did," she said.
Curtis is expected to be called before the Parole Board of Tasmania in the coming days and released back into the community shortly afterwards.
If you or someone you know is affected by family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au In an emergency, call triple-0