Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Woman who caused fatal crash also guilty of theft

Drugged-driver Nicole Marie Reynolds found guilty on a further charge of theft in the Tauranga District Court yesterday. Photo/File.
Drugged-driver Nicole Marie Reynolds found guilty on a further charge of theft in the Tauranga District Court yesterday. Photo/File.

The drugged driver who ran over and killed two Bay people and left another seriously injured has been found guilty of stealing two pill bottles from a former client's home.

Nicole Marie Reynolds was found guilty of one representative charge of theft in Tauranga District Court yesterday after a defended hearing before Judge David Cameron.

Read more: Woman accused of setting her own house on fire acquitted

Judge Cameron said he was satisfied the police had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Reynolds had stolen two sleeping pill bottles from her client's kitchen drawer. They were found inside her vehicle after the crash.

Two weeks ago Reynolds pleaded guilty to two charges of drug-driving causing death and a further charge of drug-driving causing injury.

Leigh Antoinette Rhodes, 60, and friend Kenny McCrae, 52, died on July 29 last year when the Nissan driven by Reynolds ploughed into them and Ms Rhodes' partner Lance Carter as they changed a tyre on SH29A between Baypark and Maungatapu.

Mr McCrae died instantly and Ms Rhodes died in Tauranga Hospital later that evening.
Mr Carter was seriously injured and woke up in hospital days later.

Reynolds had taken methadone and also had two other Class B controlled drugs in her system. The drugs, which belonged to her mother, were consumed without a prescription.

Prior to the crash her vehicle was seen weaving within her lane.

At yesterday's defended hearing police prosecutor David Pawson put to Reynolds she stole the Clonzepam tablet bottles from a Mount Maunganui man's home earlier last year while carrying out home help duties for him.

Reynolds told the court she took the empty, labelled pill bottles from a rubbish bag in the man's kitchen to store her own medicines.

She claimed she transferred some antihistamine tablets from their foil packaging into one of the bottles because she did not like the "sensation" of feeling foil on her hands.

"I know that sounds strange but I'm serious, that's why I took the bottles," Reynolds said.

When Mr Pawson challenged Reynolds' claims, she insisted the empty bottles were found in the rubbish bag, and she had taken and used them for this sole reason.

The witness was adamant he always removed the labels from the empty pill bottles and put the containers into a rubbish bag in his kitchen for later disposal, and did not want his private medical information getting "into the wrong hands"

Judge David Cameron further remanded Reynolds on bail to next appear in court on March 27 for sentencing on all the charges.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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