19 April 2021

Forty-year-old woman pleads guilty to trying to seduce lawnmowing teen

| Albert McKnight
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Michelle Maree Ardron

Michelle Maree Ardron attempts to hide her face from journalists outside the ACT Courts on Thursday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A 40-year-old woman has faced court after she donned a “huge, poufy brown wig”, stripped naked and forced herself onto an underage teenager who came to mow her lawn.

After kissing him on the lips and touching his genital area over his clothes, Michelle Maree Ardron was apparently surprised when the boy told her he was only 15.

Court documents show in November 2018 the teenager was door-knocking people’s homes in Curtin asking if they wanted him to mow their lawns, during which he met Ardron.

He said he would do the work at her home for $40.

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He returned to Ardron’s house later that month, thinking she appeared drowsy when she met him at the door.

It took him an hour to mow her lawns, and once he’d finished, he pushed his lawnmower through her back gate, which closed behind him, leaving behind lawn clippings he still had to retrieve.

Michelle Maree Ardron

Michelle Maree Ardron (right) put her blue jacket over her head to hide from the camera when she left the ACT Courts with a supporter. Photo: Albert McKnight.

He knocked on her front door and walked through the house into the backyard again. While he was outside, Ardron put on the “huge, poufy brown wig”.

When he came back inside, Ardron asked him if he smoked “weed” (cannabis), and told him he should after he said he did not.

Ardron then walked closer, kissed him on the lips and put her tongue inside his mouth.

She rubbed her body against his, kissed his neck and touched his genital area over his clothes while she took off her t-shirt and bra.

During these events, the boy was frozen, but eventually said: “I’m 15 and I shouldn’t be doing this”.

By then, having continued taking off her clothes, she was naked and replied: “Sorry, I thought you were older.”

The boy said he had to mow another person’s lawn, left her house and went home, feeling “shocked and conflicted”.

Ardron pleaded guilty to a charge of an act of indecency on a young person under the age of 16 years, for which she faced a maximum penalty of 10 years’ jail.

She appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (15 April), where Chief Justice Helen Murrell described her actions as for her “own sexual gratification”.

Chief Justice Murrell said two years after the offence, the boy was still suffering from its impact.

She said he was hypervigilant, had nightmares and flashbacks, and relived the feeling of disgust he experienced during the incident.

But she accepted Ardron stopped when the boy voiced his distress, that the offence was of short duration and was an isolated incident.

Chief Justice Murrell said Ardron, who was on welfare payments, was now studying at the Canberra Institute of Technology and aimed to work in the community sector.

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She had also been told Ardron appeared to be “fully committed to her recovery”. She attended a rehabilitation program, remained abstinent and had adopted a healthy lifestyle.

When discussing the sentence, prosecutor Sofia Janackovic said unless Ardron had a non-conviction or a good behaviour order without supervision, she would be placed on the sex offender registry for eight years.

Ardron’s lawyer James Sabharwal from Burley Griffin Chambers said he was hoping for a good behaviour order, for reasons Region Media has chosen not to disclose.

Chief Justice Murrell continued Ardron’s bail and adjourned the matter to 13 May so more information could be gathered ahead of her sentencing.

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