20 Mar 2015

Businessman's pimp spared jail

6:29 pm on 20 March 2015

A 17-year-old fed her methamphetamine habit by feeding girls as young as 14 to a sexual predator.

Wellington High Court

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The woman, now 20, stood trial alongside businessman Mark Lyon who is now serving a jail sentence of 15 years for offending that included stripping a woman naked, shackling her in a room described as a dungeon and sexually abusing her.

Judge Russell Collins described the case as complex and said the woman could easily have been a victim, rather than an offender.

He gave her permanent name suppression and sentenced her to 10 months home detention and 250 hours community work to allow her to continue her rehabilitation programme.

As well as the Prostitution Reform Act charges, the woman was also sentenced for breaking into her neighbour's home and stealing.

At her trial last year, the court heard how she would entice young women who, like her, were addicted to meth.

She would promise them drugs if they had sex with Lyon.

Text messages seen by the police show she described herself as a pimp.

Crown prosecutor Jo Murdoch said the woman played a critical role in feeding Lyon's appetite for underage girls.

She was relentless at times and on one occasion sent 30 texts in one day to one of the girls, urging her to have sex with Lyon.

A victim impact statement from one girl shows she thought the woman was her friend but was abandoned by her at Lyon's home.

But Judge Collins said the situation could easily have been different, with the woman sitting in the witness box, instead of the dock.

Her lawyer Lorraine Smith said, three years on from the offending, the woman had changed.

Mrs Smith said rehabilitation was giving her client a second chance and she urged Judge Collins to do the same.

Judge Collins said the woman was a complex character, and while she could be highly manipulative, she was also intelligent and had potential with the continued support of her mother.

He started with a prison sentence of four years and took time off for her young age, mental health issues and remorse.

That brought the sentence down to two years which allowed the judge to sentence her to home detention.