18 Sep 2015

Teen who raped pregnant woman jailed

2:35 pm on 18 September 2015

A teenager, who raped and kicked a 30-year-old woman in the stomach while ignoring her pleas to let her go because she had just become pregnant through IVF treatment, has been jailed for eight years.

Bailey Meredith was sentenced to eight months jail for raping a pregnant woman.

Bailey Meredith was sentenced to eight months jail. Photo: RNZ / Max Towle

Bailey Meredith, who is 17, had pleaded guilty to rape and other charges of sexual violation when he attacked the woman on a Lower Hutt riverbank during her lunch break in June.

At his sentencing in the Wellington District Court, Judge Jan Kelly said Meredith's actions were degrading and took advantage of a vulnerable woman.

The court heard Meredith, who had turned 17 days earlier, was furious at breaking up with his girlfriend, and was high on magic mushrooms.

He told police he had "wanted to take it out on some chick".

In her harrowing victim impact statement, the woman told the court she and her husband had tried to conceive for months and she had undergone IVF treatment.

She said on the day of the attack, she felt pregnancy symptoms.

"I begged him not to harm me and the baby and even explained to him what IVF was and that we only had a limited chance to have a baby," she told the court.

But Meredith ignored her, and sexually violated her in a prolonged attack while holding a knife to her throat.

She tried to escape at one point, but was dragged back to the same clearing.

While being assessed for her injuries the next day, a doctor told her she was indeed pregnant, but was likely to miscarry.

It was not made clear during the sentencing whether she remains pregnant.

The woman suffered cuts, bruises and broken teeth in the attack, and told the court she was still suffering post-traumatic stress and was afraid to leave her house.

"It is now three months on and I'm still very afraid to go anywhere. I'm afraid to get the mail from the letterbox," she said. "The attack has tainted what should be a very happy time for us."

She described the horrific nature of the attack, and said Meredith threatened to kill her unless she did what he told her.

"I was absolutely terrified, feared for my life, and feared I would not see my husband or friends and family again," she said. "I was violated in the worst way imaginable."

She said she still suffered flashbacks and had trouble sleeping, saying the most she had slept since the attack was four hours.

"Every day I fear I'm going to be attacked."

Her husband also read a victim impact statement to the court, recounting his "unspeakable rage and unbridled hatred" for Meredith.

"How can something so horrific, barbaric and senseless happen to someone so friendly and full of life?" he said.

Meredith bowed his head and cried during the sentencing. His immediate family sat in the public gallery and also wept.

The court heard Meredith was a heavy drug user who started using cannibis aged 11, and dropped out of school when he was 14 or 15.

He told his probation officer he would spend his time using drugs and wandering around town aimlessly.

After the attack, he tried to hang himself.

Defence lawyer Mike Kilbride said Meredith had shown genuine remorse, and deserved credit for pleading guilty as quickly as possible.

"His family feels like they've got their son back, who they'd lost for a number of years. They'll do their best to help him," he said.

Judge Kelly did not impose a minimum sentence for Meredith.