Hastings woman jailed after blackmail attempt

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Shandah Renee Tuahine was sentenced to 21 months' jail for blackmailing an 87-year-old man.
Shandah Renee Tuahine was sentenced to 21 months' jail for blackmailing an 87-year-old man.

A Hastings woman has been sentenced to 21 months' jail for blackmailing a pensioner with demands he pay thousands of dollars amid threats he would be "framed" with claims of sexual offences against an under-age girl.

Shandah Renee Tuahine had pleaded guilty to one charge, linked to six attempts to extort money from the 87-year-old, thought to have also involved two other offenders, although no one else had been charged.

In Hastings District Court yesterday, Judge Max Courtney declined an application by assigned counsel Eric Forster for a sentence of home detention, saying her repeated failures to attend court - leading to the issuing of four warrants - gave him little confidence she would abide by the conditions.

He said the offences, over almost two months in June and July last year, involved $4670, and would have continued had it not been for concerned bank staff who contacted police as the man asked for a $4500 cheque, while Tuahine waited outside.

The judge said demands had been made on the man in ever-increasing sums, and were met on all but the last occasion at the bank.

The word "frame" had been used in at least one of the threats, which started with claims that the accused had video evidence of him committing a sexual offence with a minor and that it would be handed over to police if he didn't pay her $50.

The man made a range of withdrawals over the following weeks amid similar demands.

On one occasion he gave money to a younger female and on another facing a demand from a male caller.

Tuahine was ordered to pay reparation of $680.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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