Wanganui pickaxe attacker jailed

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Andrew James White has been jailed for 21 months. Photo / File
Andrew James White has been jailed for 21 months. Photo / File

A Wanganui man who attacked another with a pickaxe as he lay on the ground has been jailed for 21 months.

Andrew James White was convicted of injuring with intent to injure, wounding with intent to injure and assault with a weapon after clashing with a man who intervened when White yelled abuse and threats at another man from the side of the street.

White, represented by Peter Brosnahan, pleaded guilty to the charges before he was due to go on trial.

White was sentenced in the Wanganui District Court by Judge David Cameron on the three charges, and convicted and discharged of threatening to damage property.

In the early evening of October 1, 2010, White's partner and a male neighbour of his were away together for a length of time before she returned to White's address. When White found out, he abused his partner, accusing her of being unfaithful.

The argument became increasingly loud and public, and White was revving a motorbike at the same time.

He then rode up and down the street noisily.

White then stopped and stood outside the the neighbour's property and started yelling abuse and threats at him. Another man who lived nearby heard and told White to calm down.

White shouted at the man that he "hoped his house was insured", that he "knew where his shop was", and threatened to burn down his property.

The Crown said White was referring to burning down the house, but White said he meant damage his business. Judge Cameron said nothing turned on the distinction, and it made up the threatening to damage property charge.

That man then went home and, the Crown said, got a piece of wood. White said it was a metal pole. The man returned with the weapon, urging White to calm down.

White had been joined by an associate, Kemp Rangitahae Rippon, who pleaded guilty to injuring with intent to injure, and is due to be sentenced on May 2.

At this stage, White had a pickaxe. The Crown says he was armed from the time he started arguing with the neighbour who had been out with his girlfriend, but White disputes that.

White challenged the man who had intervened to a fight, and advanced, and the man struck him with his weapon. A witness made a statement to the effect that she heard White call out "you hit me". Rippon came to his aid and the other man ran off, but fell on his front as he was retreating.

He was then set upon by White and Rippon, White striking his head with the pickaxe, constituting the assault with a weapon charge. The axe had a wooden handle and the head was not fixed in place, so it slid up and down.

With White still wielding the pickaxe and Rippon armed with a sledgehammer, both were seen to strike the man as he lay on the ground, resulting in the injuring with intent to injure charge.

The man suffered two fractured ribs, a head wound which required four staples, and cuts and scrapes to his hands and arms.

The neighbour who had been out with White's partner saw the attack and went to help the man on the ground, taking a steering column from a car. He hit White's arm, allowing the victim on the ground to get away.

White then used the axe to hit the man who had the steering column, which constituted the wounding with intent to injure charge. The blow caused a head wound that required four sutures. The man also had cut hands and arms.

Judge Cameron said White had a varied criminal history. The pre-sentence report recommended jail and noted he did not seem remorseful.

The judge accepted there was a degree of provocation in that the other man apparently hit him first. However, that was eclipsed by the Crown's point that the man ran away and fell, and was attacked.

Judge Cameron told White he was now subject to the three strikes law.

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