20 Mar 2017

Jury finds Dome Valley attackers guilty

6:42 pm on 20 March 2017

He tried to throttle her and break her neck before repeatedly smashing her head with a hammer - but she lived.

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Dome Valley (file photo) Photo: Screenshot / Google Maps

Ten months after being found on the side of a remote road north of Auckland, the Dome Valley kidnapping victim was in the High Court in Auckland to give evidence against her attackers.

Today, they were found guilty of the majority of charges relating to two separate kidnappings of the woman, following a three-week trial.

The verdicts were:

As the verdicts were delivered, Jones clutched at her stomach and wiped tears from her eyes. Hakeke wept uncontrollably.

The victim was in a coma for five days and had to learn to walk and speak again as she recovered from her brain injuries.

She told the court she was working as a prostitute and living out of her car when she was lured to Hakeke's west Auckland flat in April last year.

Giving evidence by audio-visual link from another room, she told the closed court Hakeke, who was a friend, had asked her to pick up some cash for some methamphetamine and told her the front door was unlocked.

"When I got upstairs, Julie [Torrance] was standing there and because I hadn't seen Julie in ages, I was like: 'Oh, hi.' And she said: 'Is that all you can say?' ... And then Nikki [Jones] jumped out from behind the door and took me to the ground."

She said she was kicked and punched and then tasered on her arms and near her private parts.

"Julie was sitting there, smoking meth through the pipe and ... after she finished heating it up ... She rolled the pipe down my leg and it burned me."

The women then threatened her with a dirty needle before cutting her hair, holding a knife to her throat and forcing her to sign over her car, she said.

She was asked by Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey what had sparked the attack. The woman said Jones accused her of contacting Child Youth and Family and causing her to lose custody of her child. Torrance accused her of stealing a ring belonging to her dead daughter and two hair straighteners. She said both allegations were false.

They then drove her out to the Bombay Hills where they dropped her, telling her to hitchhike to her mother's home in a North Island town, hundreds of kilometres away.

Two weeks later she was on Karangahape Rd when Jones grabbed her by the hair and forced her into a car.

Once inside, she said Jones, Torrance and a third woman - Jaclyn Keates - punched her in the head.

"While I was in the boot, I was thinking to myself: 'OK, what would anyone do if they were in this situation?' ... I rubbed my face with my hands so I had blood on my fingers and I started putting my hands around the boot where I knew they wouldn't think to look."

She said she did that in order to leave evidence for the police to find, in case she was murdered.

At the house she was taken to a basement area where she was struck with a cricket bat and cricket wickets.

She was ordered to strip and sexually violated.

"I was then zip tied by my wrists ... From my knees to my ankles and I was stuck in the corner on the concrete floor, naked."

The woman said she was left there for about 20 hours - the only break in the monotony was when Jones delivered her two pieces of toast and took her to use a toilet.

She also remembered a conversation, which she could hear through the wall.

"I could hear Nikki and Julie ... saying to someone that they don't want to get caught and then I heard Wayne say: 'Don't worry, we'll do it properly so yous won't get caught, they won't even find the body.'"

The woman was then put in a tray of a truck, hidden under a tarpaulin. The Crown said Torrance, Jones and Blackett drove the woman to the rural road in the Dome Valley area.

After a botched attempt to break her neck, she said she could hear the women laughing and sniggering and talking about ending it all.

"I actually went to get up and then the last thing I actually remember is getting a big, massive hit to the back of the head with ... I didn't at the time know what it was but I know now it was a hammer."

The next thing she remembered was waking from her five-day coma in a hospital bed.

Ten months on from the ordeal, she still sees a speech and language therapist.

The five are due to be sentenced next month.