Jail term for rock attack on woman

An 18-year-old who forced his way into a Hawke's Bay woman's home and attacked her with a rock has been jailed for two years and four months.

Iziah Rolly Abbott, of Whakatu, was sentenced yesterday by Justice Stephen Kos in the High Court in Napier. With no previous convictions, Abbott had pleaded guilty to charges of injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and aggravated burglary in December. The Crown dropped a charge of attempted murder.

Knowing the 29-year-old woman lived alone, Abbott knocked on the door of her Railway Rd home late on the morning of May 13, 2012, hungover and angry. He had been ordered out of a nearby address after an altercation with others with whom he'd been drinking.

Justice Kos said Abbott lunged at the woman when she opened the door, but she managed to deflect him as he tried to hit her on the head with the rock. After dropping the rock, he punched her to the floor and kicked her in the head before fleeing as she screamed for help. The woman received facial injuries, including a chipped tooth and bruising to her body.

Justice Kos gave Abbott credit for admissions to police three days later, when he was regarded as no more than a suspect, and for remorse which he said was clear from a letter written by Abbott to the victim.

Justice Kos said that remorse was unusual in that it focused on the wellbeing of the woman, not the predicament in which Abbott found himself.

The Court was told Abbott's mother died when he was aged 6 and he had never known his father, but he had a supportive upbringing in the care of his grandparents. He was regarded as respectful but began consuming alcohol and smoking cannabis in his first year at high school, from which he was expelled.

Justice Kos was concerned at the potential for reoffending with Abbott's leaning towards gang associations for support in jail, but he was impressed by the teen's view of eight months in jail awaiting sentencing.

Justice Kos said a victim impact statement highlighted the physical and emotional trauma for the victim, who needed a week off work, but was still having difficulty recovering more than six months later.

Crown prosecutor Nicola Graham sought a "starting point" of seven years, while defence counsel Eric Forster asked Justice Kos to start at three years six months to three years nine months before taking aggravating or mitigating factors into account.

The Crown is considering appealing the sentence as inadequate.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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