Former Home and Away actor Orpheus Pledger pleads guilty to violent attack on woman

By Syan Vallance, ABC

Former Home and Away star Orpheus Pledger has admitted he committed a violent attack on a woman in Melbourne’s northern suburbs earlier this year.

The 31-year-old listened in to Monday’s Melbourne Magistrates’ Court hearing via video-link from custody, where he has been since breaching bail in April.

The court heard the victim called triple-0 in the early hours of 25 March requesting police assistance because she believed Pledger was suffering a mental health episode.

The victim – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – then told the emergency operator “he’s coming” before the call cut out, the court heard.

When police arrived 15 minutes later, they found the victim on the floor, unable to get up, with bruises on her head and hand, lacerations on her face and signs of strangulation.

The woman was taken to hospital where she remained overnight for observation.

Pledger was arrested and released on bail on the condition he underwent a mental health assessment at Royal Melbourne Hospital, the court heard.

The court heard an arrest warrant was issued for Pledger after he left hopsital following a 24-hour wait without assessment.

However, after stretched police and health resources forced him to wait almost 24 hours for assessment, Pledger left hospital, triggering an arrest warrant.

Magistrate says police, paramedic shortage ‘outrageous’

The court heard Pledger was granted bail at 4pm on 22 April, but he was not transported to hospital until the early hours of the next morning.

Prosecutors explained the delay came down to a shortage of police and ambulances officers, which magistrate Justin Foster called “outrageous”.

He explained the only reason Pledger was granted bail in the first place was because there were no vacancies at the Thomas Embling forensic mental health hospital at the time.

Pledger’s defence lawyer, Jasper MacCuspie, told the court it was a system-wide problem.

MacCuspie praised frontline workers but said “the resources are just not there” to deal with demand, even when it was court-ordered.

“The fact there’s no money to do any of this is unbelievable,” Magistrate Foster said.

Court hears actor’s mental health derailed after ‘destabilising event’

Pledger is best known for his role as the fictional character Mason Morgan in the TV soap, Home and Away.

The 31-year-old started acting in commercials as a child before securing his first major role in the children’s show Silversun.

He took up his most prominent role on Home and Away in 2016 before his character was killed off in 2019.

MacCuspie said the actor’s mental health had declined shortly afterwards, after he missed out on a role in the major US show The 100.

“He was expecting to fly over for the show but at the very last minute that role fell through,” MacCuspie said.

“In many ways that was the first barrier he’d faced in his career … It was destabilising event for him.”

The loss triggered the recreational use of methylamphetamine, which his lawyer conceded contributed to his offending.

The court heard Pledger had attacked the victim on previous occasions, but she had not given a statement to police out of concern for his mental health.

Pledger is expected to be back in court on 3 July, when he will be sentenced for charges including assault and recklessly causing injury.


According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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