5 Apr 2017

Miramar tyre-slasher jailed

7:41 pm on 5 April 2017

A self-confessed vigilante was proud of slashing the tyres of cars parked in residential streets near Wellington Airport, a court has been told.

David Johns, 53, was jailed for 22 months when he appeared in the Wellington District Court for sentencing today.

Generic Wellington Airport; Hataitai; kilbirnie

Wellington Airport Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Johns told a psychologist before his sentencing he had an effect when no-one else did, and described himself as a vigilante.

Wellington tyre slasher David Johns

David Johns Photo: RNZ / Edward O'Driscoll

He said Miramar residents were frustrated at airport users parking on suburban streets rather than paying for parking at the airport.

Johns slashed the tyres on more than 100 cars over a six-month period, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

He was caught in the act when officers, who had set up a plainclothes operation to find the offender, saw him stab tyres in at least two Miramar streets.

They found a sharpened screwdriver in his vest pocket and another in his vehicle.

He admitted a charge of criminal damage and carrying an offensive weapon.

Judge Tim Black said the slashings were premeditated, happened over a period of months, and caused distress and inconvenience to people arriving back after flights.

The judge said Johns caused thousands of dollars of damage to cars.

He said Johns might have thought he was in the right, but he stepped outside the law to achieve his objective.

"You decided you were above the law. Your actions were those of a vigilante and, in my view, a significantly aggravating feature of your offending."

Johns' defence lawyer, Kirby Draper, said her client's main concern was that commercial and utility vehicles were causing congestion and affecting road safety.

She said it was a misguided act of protest.

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