'Cruel' rugby player jailed

By Katie Holland

Wade Pereira Former Bay of Plenty Steamers rugby player Wade Pereira has been described by a Rotorua judge as a "cruel bully" who abused his position of power against a weaker person.

Pereira, 25, convicted in June of kidnapping his then-partner as well as two counts of injuring with intent to injure, was yesterday sentenced to four years in jail in the Rotorua District Court. He will serve a minimum non-parole period of two years.

Between November 19 and 21, 2011 Pereira repeatedly assaulted the woman - punching, kicking and headbutting her - and prevented her from leaving their Rotorua home when she tried to escape. A month earlier he had also assaulted her, punching her so hard she lost teeth and needed a plate to fix the damage.

In Rotorua District Court yesterday Judge Mark Perkins said the victim had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the attack, during which she thought she was going to die.

Judge Perkins said in considering the appropriate sentence he had taken into account the prolonged period of detention, the serious physical and psychological effect the victim and the number and viciousness of the assaults.

"There was almost an element of sadism by using bedding to minimise visible injuries," he said.

He noted Pereira had a record of violent offending dating back to 2006 which had been escalating in seriousness, including three domestic violence convictions during 2010 and 2011 against the same victim.

"You are a cruel bully to put it simply," the judge told Pereira.

"You are clearly a person of immense strength. You abused your position of power over a weaker person."

A letter from Pereira was handed to the judge yesterday, together with a letter from his anger management course facilitator, but Judge Perkins said this had come too late in the piece.

"In my view you lack insight or remorse," he said.

He gave Pereira no credit for pleading guilty to the injuring with intent to injure charges on the morning of the June trial, saying the pleas had simply reflected the inevitably he would be convicted.

Judge Perkins said Pereira was a high risk re-offender unless he addressed his propensity for violence and warned him he would face a substantial term in prison if he offended again upon release.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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