Man avoids jail after kidnapping

By Abigail Hartevelt

A man who kidnapped and assaulted his ex-girlfriend during a high-speed Valentine's Day dash travelling at speeds of up to 170km/h has avoided going to jail.

Ryan Mathew Bielby, 20, appeared in the Rotorua District Court yesterday after previously pleading guilty to charges of kidnapping, assault, dangerous driving and failing to stop for police.

Judge Phillip Cooper sentenced Bielby to six months' community detention to be served at a Waikanae property, 300 hours' community work and 12 months' intensive supervision.

Bielby, the son of the officer in charge of the Tauranga police station, Senior Sergeant Ross Bielby, has a 7pm to 6.30am daily curfew as part of his community detention sentence. He has been banned from driving for a year.

Judge Cooper said on February 14 Bielby met his 17-year-old former girlfriend to return a bag.

They drove around for an hour discussing their relationship before the victim asked Bielby to take her home.

As she tried to get out of the car Bielby pulled her back into the car and there was a struggle. The victim suffered a cut to her wrist and a bite mark after Bielby bit her on the back.

They travelled to the Kaimai Ranges and Bielby was driving erratically. Police were called and followed Bielby who reached speeds of up to 170km/h. He was also seen overtaking dangerously. Police abandoned the chase but Bielby was spotted an hour later. Bielby crashed through a farm fence and the car became stuck.

Judge Cooper said the incident would have been terrifying for the victim.

He said Bielby had shown insight into what he had done and now had a more responsible attitude.

He was also working full-time. Judge Cooper said the starting point was two-and-a-half years' jail but reduced that to 18 months' jail to give Bielby credit for his early guilty plea, remorse, his youth and rehabilitation prospects.

Judge Cooper said given the jail term was under two years he could consider home detention or other electronically monitored sentences.

He said Bielby was in a new relationship and if he was confined to his home 24 hours a day, seven days a week that could be counter-productive. Bielby would also not be able to continuing working.

Judge Cooper said although the sentence he imposed was a "pretty merciful one", community detention with other sentences was appropriate.

Bielby's lawyer, Ian Farquhar, told the court the incident arose out of Bielby's trying to rekindle the relationship with his former girlfriend.

Mr Farquhar described Bielby's offending as an emotional experience rather than an intentional sinister act.

Bielby acknowledged that his relationship with the victim was over and he was now in a new relationship which was a good cure for a previous relationship. Bielby no longer lives in the Bay of Plenty.

The victim last night told the Bay of Plenty Times she was disappointed with the sentence.

"Of course I don't think it's enough for what he did but I guess I don't really have a say," she said.

The girl's message to Bielby was that she hoped he would grow up.

"I went to counselling and everything. It helped a lot. It's just good knowing he can't contact me. It's really good just trying to carry on with my own life."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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