TROY Johnson, the man charged with raping a 12-year-old schoolgirl while wearing a camouflage suit, is “Mr Average” who loves hunting animals but is an “ordinary suburban father”.
The 31-year-old is a contracting excavator with a talent for fixing “anything mechanical”, according to a friend who has known Mr Johnson since seventh grade.
The friend, who asked not to be identified, said Mr Johnson was a licensed shooter who hunted animals with friends and family and a medieval and space video game enthusiast.
He said that when police arrested Mr Johnson he had been returning with his eldest child to McDonalds to fetch the toys left out of the three childrens’ Happy Meals.
Police arrested Mr Johnson at Lake Haven on the NSW Central Coast last weekend and charged him with allegedly attacking the girl in May while dressed in a military-style Ghillie suit.
Police allege the father of three bound, gagged and stripped naked the girl and forced her to perform a sex act while he took “trophy” photographs.
The friend said he had seen both a Ghillie suit and cable ties in Mr Johnson’s Central Coast garage but they were just “normal’ items for hunting or fixing things.
He said Mr Johnson was a “solid guy” and “a family man”.
“He was just going back to Maccas because they forgot to put the toys in the Happy Meals for his kids,” the friend revealed exclusively to news.com.au.
“His son was in the car when police stopped it and took them off to [Wyong Police Station].”
The friend said he had never seen Mr Johnson lose his temper and that his wife is “a lovely girl, absolutely perfect, the nicest human being on the planet”.
Mr Johnson grew up on Sydney’s lower north shore where he attended Holy Cross College in Ryde.
He was “average” at school, with some ability in mathematics.
“There wasn’t anything that was different about him. He had a couple of girlfriends, we all just hung out together,” the friend said.
When they were both in their early twenties, the friend introduced Mr Johnson to his future wife.
A “nice caring person” who it would be “really hard to piss off” and who worked in the field of children’s education, the young woman and Mr Johnson became a couple almost immediately.
They married in 2009 in a Catholic Church and subsequently Mrs Johnson gave birth to two sons and a daughter.
Mr Johnson, whose friend described him as “very mechanically minded with a love for basically every big bit of machinery and cars”, found work as an excavator.
Apart from work and his family, Mr Johnson went on hunting expeditions with relatives and friends and enjoyed playing the video games Skyrim, Dragon Age and Mass Effect.
It is believed he was contracted as an NBN tradesman at the time of his arrest.
Police allege they found photographs of the May 15 attack on the schoolgirl on Mr Johnson’s phone after it was handed to them by Mrs Johnson after his arrest.
Police also allege he indecently assaulted another girl, aged 11.
Mr Johnson’s friend told news.com.au that he and other friends of the excavator found the arrest and charges “bewildering”.
“He was always a good bloke. When you needed help he would be the first one to stand up, to give you a hand.
“When I saw the [police] video when they were going through his garage … cable ties, knives, the Ghillie suit.
“[They said] it’s a rape kit. To me … that’s hunting gear.
“He’s had it for so long and goes hunting.
“He’s a normal father of three little kids. He’s never lost his temper.
“I’ve seen him pissed off … [but] he’s never lost his s***.”
The friend said he was appalled by the amount of abuse and death threats which had been levelled by people who didn’t know Mr Johnson at the accused on his Facebook page.
Police will allege a 12-year-old girl was walking to school on May 15 when she looked over her shoulder and saw a man wearing camouflage clothing emerge from bushes.
Court documents allege the assailant was holding a stick and grabbed the girl in a headlock and forced her into shrubbery beside a pathway.
Police alleged Mr Johnson then tied the girl to a tree, bound her hands behind her with cable ties, put duct tape over her mouth and removed her clothes.
He then allegedly showed her a video and forced her to perform a sex act upon him, and took photos of her.
Police also allege he has exposed himself to an 11-year-old girl several times between October last year and April this year and that officers had interviewed the girl.
It was then that police alleged Mr Johnson’s wife handed over one of his mobile phones, which allegedly contained images of the rape victim and aerial shots of a high school.
Originally published as Accused rapist lived ‘perfect life’