Tauranga victim tells of kidnap terror

By Sam Boyer

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A former Aquinas College student kidnapped and assaulted his ex-girlfriend during a high-speed Valentine's Day dash across the North Island, travelling at speeds of almost 180km/h.

Ryan Mathew Bielby, 19, is the son of Senior Sergeant Ross Bielby, the officer in charge of the Tauranga police station.

Ryan Bielby travelled to Papamoa to visit his ex-girlfriend, but he ended up detaining the young woman in his vehicle, biting her and driving away at speeds exceeding 170km/h.

Bielby faced Judge James Weir at the Taupo District Court on Thursday. He entered four guilty pleas - for kidnapping, assault, dangerous driving and failing to stop for police - in relation to the events on February 14.

The kidnapping sparked a two-hour police search, which included a high-speed pursuit and road spikes, and ended with Bielby crashing his car into a paddock near Turangi, where he was arrested.

The police summary of facts for the case was not read in court but it was obtained by the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend yesterday on application to Judge Weir.

The summary states that on February 14, Bielby met his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend around 3pm in a Papamoa street near the victim's home.

After driving around Papamoa and Mount Maunganui for about an hour, the victim asked to be taken home. Bielby returned her to the same street he had picked her up from but he refused to let her leave the car.

The police summary states: "As she went to get out of the vehicle [Bielby] pulled her back into the car by the wrists. During the struggle he grabbed at a chain which was around her wrist and he used this to pull her back into the car. A noticeable laceration was observed on her wrist."

The victim continued to struggle as Bielby drove down the street and tried again to exit the car. During the struggle Bielby bit the girl on her back. "Teeth marks could clearly be seen," the report states.

Bielby then drove at high speed toward the Kaimai Range. At this point the victim, "upset and crying", managed to send a text message to a friend who notified police.

Police attempts to phone the girl were thwarted when Bielby took the victim's phone.

At 5.42pm a marked police car identified Bielby's Honda Integra on State Highway 1 between Putaruru and Tokoroa. Bielby was speeding at 116km/h and the police officer set off after his car.

After the police car activated its siren and lights, Bielby increased his speed to 152km/h. The police officer abandoned the chase due to risks to other drivers when Bielby overtook another vehicle on double yellow lines.

At Ngatira Rd, an officer detected Bielby's speed at 172km/h at the end of a straight.

Inspector Kevin Taylor, road policing manager for the Bay of Plenty, told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend in February that police officers then positioned themselves in Tokoroa to halt Bielby's car, but he again avoided capture.

"Police staff [were] waiting at Tokoroa with road spikes ... [but the offender] took a side road and disappeared," Mr Taylor said.

It is understood Bielby drove back roads through Whakamaru and Mangakino, but was identified about an hour later by Turangi police. Mr Taylor said, on seeing the police, Bielby again sped off but failed to take a corner and crashed through a fence into a paddock.

The police summary states: "He continued to drive approximately 200 metres through a farm paddock and then down a deep gully where the vehicle became stuck. He was then apprehended by police."

The victim, aged 17, did not speak in court this week but told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend the ordeal had left her so shaken she would need counselling to rid herself of "flashbacks".

"I keep getting flashbacks every day, just about the crash and being chased. I'm going to have to go through a lot of counselling," she said.

She said the Valentine's Day encounter had begun innocently enough. She said Bielby drove for approximately 4 hours to return a bag.

The pair had spent an hour or so visiting mutual friends in Mount Maunganui. "Everything was fine," she said.

But when the time came for Bielby to drop the girl home, she said he snapped.

"He stopped pretty much outside my house. I went to get out and he locked the door ... he kept holding me and pulled me back in. I was yelling at him and kept telling him to stop. He changed from a normal person to a crazy person," she said.

"He was driving ... I was swearing at him, telling him to stop and he had my wrists. He ended up biting me on the back."

On the journey out of Tauranga, the girl said she managed to secretly text a friend, sparking the police hunt.

"I texted my friend and said 'Ryan has kidnapped me. Please help'," she said.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

The friend rang police who then called the girl's mobile phone. Bielby snatched the phone off her and refused to give it back.

The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend contacted Ross Bielby but he declined to comment.

After pleading guilty on Thursday, Ryan Bielby also declined to comment.

Inspector Kevin Taylor - a different police officer to the inspector named above - then acting area commander for the Bay of Plenty police, also declined to comment on the case.

"Anything that's before the court, we are not in a business to discuss ... [and] like any employer - that's not just related to police - it's not appropriate to discuss the private lives of employees. So I've got no comment," he said.

The victim said she had left both school and her job last year to live with Bielby for six months on a farm.

She said the pair split up about four months ago, after a 10-month relationship.

Bielby was remanded on bail until his next court appearance. His bail conditions allow him out of his bail address between 6am and 7pm so he can work. It is understood he has been bailed to Waikanae, where he is living with his grandparents.

He is scheduled to reappear in court on June 11 for sentencing. The maximum sentence for kidnapping is 14 years' imprisonment.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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