Hawke's Bay 'sugar daddy' blackmailed

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A woman blackmailed a man she described as her "sugar daddy" out of $7700 while so addicted to methamphetamine that traces of the drug were found in a hair sample from her child.

The blackmail victim had been intimidated into giving Donna Todd, 27, money on several occasions because her ex-partner was a gang member and he felt threatened.

She denied this, but was found guilty by a jury.

Justice Joseph Williams in the High Court at Napier yesterday sentenced Todd to five years and six months in prison.

She faced 11 charges for a series of attacks on her victim, blackmail, wilful neglect of a child and a prison attack caught on camera.

In sentencing, Justice Williams said the blackmail had a major impact on the victim.

"It's a relatively significant amount, not a small amount. The threats of violence from very dangerous people obviously caused [the victim] to be petrified. Another factor is that you kept returning for more."

Todd had admitted the violence offences, the majority of which occurred in 2011, when she attacked the blackmail victim on several occasions. She broke his arm with a skateboard, threw a steak knife at his head, sliced his cheek, stabbed him in the leg and threw a ceramic bowl at him.

Judge Williams lamented the impact her drug use had on her child, described as an "innocent and vulnerable victim" of her habit.

Traces of the drug were found in a sample of the child's hair. It was likely to have come from breathing in smoke or putting something tainted in its mouth, the judge said.

He urged Todd to quit drugs.

"You and your children are repeating the mistakes that you blame the last generation for ... Therapy and treatment are what you need. All I can do is plead to the corrections service to provide this help for you."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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