Editor’s note: Andrew J. Harper, who conned multiple women in Australia, was sentenced yesterday to nine months in jail. Here’s what we hear from one of his victims, Rochelle Fisher.
“Rebecca Bell was there, she said the magistrate gave him an absolute drilling, and was not falling for any of his crap. She said the fact that the victims had children made him very angry.
“Also, his lawyer said that he didn’t get any financial gain from his victims, that they were along for the ride and enjoyed it, like staying in hotels etc. And the magistrate said ‘Yes, but, they would not have paid it if he had told the truth.’
“He has been ordered to pay back 22k to victims and hotels, but there is nothing to enforce that order, so he won’t pay it.”
With Harper going back to jail, the women feel vindicated. Still, it’s difficult for them to explain to friends and family how they got into the situation to begin with. Rochelle, who posts on Lovefraud as “Rozzieoz,” wrote the following piece in an attempt to describe the sensation of almost drowning with the con man.
The Beach Where He Said He Would Love Me Forever
By Rochelle Fisher
“Step onto my beach,” he said.
“Your beach?” I asked, in amazement.
“Yes, my beach, I own it. It is all mine but you can share it.”
“Why me?” I asked, “Why am I so special?”
“Because I have been alone for a long, long time and there is nobody else like you,” he answered, as he took my hand and pulled me roughly onto the sand of his beach.
I looked around for other bathers, but we were totally alone. The waves crashed in the distance, seeming to move ominously closer. I decided to ignore the waves and looked at him instead.
“We don’t need anybody else, it will be just you, and me, forever,” he said as he gazed deeply into my eyes, and I chose to believe him.
We walked along the beach, moving further and further away from civilization, closer and closer to the water.
“We don’t need anybody else, it will be just you, and me, forever,” he said, as he pulled me into the shallow water.
I felt nervous.
“I am not sure if I can swim with you.”
I wanted to dive into the water with him and swim forever.
“Yes you can,” he said, “It will be just you and me forever, I will help you swim, I will protect you,” as he pulled me deeper into the water. I chose to believe him. I ignored the waves and looked at him instead.
His eyes mesmerized me, I forgot about the waves, the water, the missing people on his deserted beach, I chose to focus on him.
Because he chose me.
As he pulled me deeper and deeper into the water, the sand beneath my feet started to undulate. Nothing seemed to be very stable anymore.
“I am sinking!” I cried out.
“No, you are not” he smiled at me, all the while pulling me deeper.
“I’m not? Are you sure?”
“Of course not, this is our beach, why would you sink, it is just you and me forever, I won’t let you sink.”
“The sand is moving!” I felt a knot tighten in my stomach as panic set in.
“No, it’s not. Don’t say that!”
“Are you sure? It feels like it is moving.”
“Of course I am sure, it will be just you and me forever and I will protect you.”
I chose to believe him.
The only other option meant sinking into the sand, or drowning. So I clung to him, as the waves swirled around me, faster and faster, spinning me around and around until my head was muddled and I felt dizzy and ill.
“Help, I really am going to drown!” I screamed out to him.
I felt his hands gripping mine, he was my only salvation from certain death.
“Why would I let you drown, I chose you, remember? I could have had anyone, but here I am with you, on our beach, forever.”
He smiled down at me as I floundered in the water, but it was only his mouth that was smiling, his eyes were cold. I gripped his arms, clinging on for dear life, he was the only thing standing between me and certain death.
“Why aren’t you drowning, why aren’t you sinking in the sand … why?” I looked up at him, my hands still gripping his arms, desperate for him to save me. He was not moving, he stood firm and strong.
I felt my head going under the water.
“Don’t worry, I will save you. I love you, remember, it is just you and me, forever.”
I did not notice him smiling.
Water covered my head. I felt his hands wrap around my wrists and for a second I felt safe. Until the weight started pressing on my head. I struggled against it, but the weight kept pressing, pushing me under. For a second my head came out of the water and I realized … no … it could not be … it was HIS foot pressing on my head.
I tried to cry out, but I could not talk, every time I opened my mouth it filled with water so I coughed and choked.
He stood above me, staring at me with cruel callousness, as his foot pressed my head deeper and deeper under the water.
I sank into unconsciousness. I wanted to close my eyes and sleep forever. I was drowning, on his beach. The beach where he was going to love me forever.
Just as it felt like the last breath was going to exit my body, the pressure and weight lifted and I shook my head out of the water, gasping for air.
I crawled up the beach, dragging my exhausted, battered body onto the sand. If I could just make it onto the beach, he would be there to save me.
I coughed up water for a long time, lying on the beach shaking, spluttering, crying and afraid. Finally the exhaustion overcame me and I fell asleep.
I woke up on the beach. It was empty.
He was gone.