6 Mar 2017

Woman describes being attacked and left for dead

9:26 pm on 6 March 2017

A young woman has described being hit in the back of the head with a hammer, blacking out and being left for dead before waking five days later in a hospital bed.

Exterior of the High Court in Auckland

The trial is taking place in the High Court in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Nicola Jones, Cameron Hakeke, Michelle Blom and Julie-Anne Torrance are charged with kidnapping and assaulting the woman using a taser and scissors.

The three women and another man, Wayne Blackett, also face charges of sexual violation in the High Court in Auckland.

The woman had been working as a prostitute and living out of her car when she was lured to Mr Hakeke's flat above some shops in West Auckland in April last year.

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

"When I got upstairs, Julie 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 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 Ms Jones accused her of contacting Child Youth and Family and causing her to lose custody of her child. Ms 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 Ms Jones grabbed her by the hair and forced her into a car.

Once inside, she said Ms Jones, Ms 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 Ms 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 and Michelle 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 Ms Torrance, Ms Jones and Mr Blackett drove the woman to a rural road, in the Dome Valley area, north of Auckland.

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 woman is yet to be cross-examined.

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