Dan Shearin says he regrets pleading guilty to sending abusive text messages to his former girlfriend Breeana Robinson. Photo: SuppliedDan Shearin has been called manipulative, a bully and a text pest. Some blame him for the death of a young Gold Coast Titans cheerleader, while other women claim he has intimidated and psychologically abused them.
As a former singing and dancing cruise ship entertainer, Shearin always craved the spotlight. But the attention he has received during the last 2 ½ years has been for all the wrong reasons. Some of his critics believe he should be locked up.
Shearin openly admits that he’s made mistakes, but now he wants to move on. The 41-year-old claims he is being smeared in a targeted campaign.
“It’s not like I’m some bully who beats women up or treats them badly,” he tells Fairfax Media.
“But I’m sure as hell going to stand up for myself when people harass me.”
However, there is a long list of women who claim it is Shearin who has harassed them.
Court documents show he breached a domestic violence order in 1997 but a conviction was not recorded.
In 2004, he was found guilty of unlawfully publishing defamatory material for distributing pictures of an ex-partner having sex. He was ordered to do community service but again avoided having a conviction recorded.
Last October, he pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence when he sent his girlfriend Breeana Robinson abusive text messages in the lead-up to her death in January 2013.
Ms Robinson was 21 when she plunged from Shearin’s Gold Coast high-rise apartment balcony.
Ten minutes before her death the cheerleader received a text that said: “You’re more interested in TV, food and everything else but your partner. That’s why everything’s ruined. Your priorities are f—ed up”.
In other messages during their relationship, Robinson was called a “complete f—ing moron” and a “dumb f—ing c–t”.
The pair had been living together for 38 days, but met through Facebook two years earlier. Ms Robinson, who was legally blind, always had a passion to forge a career in dancing.
Dan Shearin and Breeana Robinson. Photo: Supplied
Shearin pleaded guilty in court to the text harassment. However, in a decision that shocked the defence, the magistrate’s sentence included six months in prison, four of which were suspended. Shearin immediately appealed.
Last month the jail sentence was quashed, although the conviction still stands. Southport District Court Judge Katherine McGuinness said the prison sentence imposed by the magistrate was manifestly excessive.
She noted that more than 1400 text messages were shared between the pair in the month leading up to Ms Robinson’s death, but the prosecution could only point to nine that were “menacing, harassing or offensive”.
“There was no evidence before the magistrate to prove any causal connection between the offending and the complainant’s death,” she said.
Judge McGuinness placed Shearin on a 15-month good behaviour bond, fined him $1000 and ordered he receive counselling.
Shearin rejects any suggestions that he is a bully.
“What I said to Breeana in some of those text messages was wrong. I don’t think anyone can say hand on heart that they’ve never done that – that they’ve never said things that were wrong to their partner,” he said.
Robinson’s family sees things differently. Her aunt Janine Mackney claims Shearin was controlling and drove a wedge between the cheerleader and her family to the point where Robinson’s mother was too scared to contact her in case it made Shearin angry.
Now a free man, Shearin says he was devastated by Ms Robinson’s death but regrets pleading guilty to harassing her.
“The biggest mistake I made out of that last situation was I pleaded guilty to something I should have defended,” he said.
“I did that because I wanted it to go away. I didn’t want to cause the family any more grief.”
Dan Shearin says he has lost two jobs because of the campaign against him. Photo: Supplied
Shearin says he won’t be “rolling over” again, and intends to plead not guilty in an unrelated text message stalking case that will return to court on Monday.
Other women have come forward with tales of alleged abuse. An ex-partner, with whom he has a teenage daughter, has spoken out in television and tabloid interviews.
Meanwhile, a former fiancee, who moved to Australia from Poland to live with Shearin, has made similar public claims.
Shearin disputes both women’s stories and in the case of his ex-partner, says she had actually harassed him for years.
When asked how so many similar cases have emerged, Shearin puts it down to online dating websites.
“Most of the people who’ve come forward, I’ve met from dating sites … I think most people on dating sites are crazy, male and female. I’m one of them,” he said.
“And that’s the problem with online dating these days, you’ve got women who are wonderful and they start getting bombarded and bullied and harassed by douchebags. They become bitter, they become affected, they start to treat men badly and it’s a vicious cycle. There’s a lot of people who I’ve probably told to go away in no uncertain terms, and they’ve objected to that.”
Breeana Robinson with her aunt Janine Mackney.
Breeana Robinson’s aunt Janine Mackney says the family completely rejected Shearin’s version of events regarding her death – that the 21-year-old took her life because she was depressed about her disability.
The family is pushing for an inquest to be held, and hopes to have an answer in the next month on whether it will occur.
Queensland Police have referred Ms Robinson’s death to the state coroner, and in a statement the Department of Justice said: “The coroner is still considering all the reports before making a decision whether to hold an inquest or not.”
Ms Mackney claims that in the months leading up to Ms Robinson’s death, Shearin limited the contact between the 21-year-old and the family, including her mother Elaine who “absolutely adored” her daughter.
“Elaine kept away from Bree because she knew how volatile Dan was. The minute they had interactions, he would go crazy at Breeana,” she said.
Ms Mackney and alleged “past victims” of Shearin have started a group named Bree’s Army. Some have vowed to be at the Southport Magistrates Court on Monday to look him in the eye.
In Ms Mackney’s opinion, Shearin is “a narcissistic, selfish sicko. He’s absolutely vile”.
“Our legal system have totally let us down and he’s gotten away with it so far,” she said.
“He singles out the vulnerable girls and then he isolates them, controls them, separates them from their family and drives them to despair. Heaps of girls have told me this.
“I’ve lost Bree … I can’t bring her back. Now the fight is to stop him from doing this to other girls.”
Shearin says he has been the victim of online bullying since Ms Robinson’s death. He also believes he lost two jobs in the cruise ship industry because of the campaign against him.
“I’ve been bullied and harassed on social media more than anything I’ve said to Breeana so I think we all need to take a look at ourselves at how we treat each other, how we speak to each other,” he said.
Shearin, who once penned a tell-all book about his life as a cruise ship performer, said he was considering writing a book about the drama of the past few years.
There are topics he wants to raise awareness of, namely suicide prevention, suicide awareness, domestic violence and social media bullying.
“At the moment I’m looking to put one foot in front of the other and rebuild; to clear my name to some extent,” he said.
“I want to bring something positive out of this. There are a lot of positives in any situation that’s deemed to be negative.”
❏ Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.
❏ Support is available by phoning National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732; Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491.
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