4 May 2013

Woman sentenced under Mental Health Act for kidnap

8:00 pm on 4 May 2013

A mentally-ill homeless woman who kidnapped a toddler from her home near Auckland has been sentenced to eight months' imprisonment at a hospital as a mental-health patient.

Skye Mason pleaded guilty to abducting 17-month-old Alyssa Baker from her home in Makarau near Kaukapakapa, north of Auckland, in July last year.

Mason had been taken in just a few days earlier by the toddler's parents, who took pity on her living on the streets.

The kidnapping sparked a massive search before the pair were found more than a day later in the suburb of Swanson.

A psychiatric report later found that Mason had been in a fragile mental state at the time.

At Waitakere District Court on Friday, Judge Pippa Sinclair said that the time Alyssa was missing with Mason would have been any parent's worst nightmare.

A home detention sentence was considered, but Judge Sinclair said mental illness was key to the offending, and while she is satisfied Mason has improved significantly since then, she poses a danger to herself and to others when not being treated.

Mason was sentenced under the Mental Health Act.