Woman hires hitman to bash her boss

By Rachel Tiffen

Tania Aziz. Photo / Supplied
Tania Aziz. Photo / Supplied

Broke and desperate, Tania Aziz devised a plan to seriously injure her boss.

With him in hospital, she could take over his kebab shop lease and wipe out her debts.

So she hired a hitman.

The bashing that followed left Brian Johnson at death's door, his brain injured and his pulverised face unrecognisable.

It took 16 hours of surgery to rebuild his face.

In the High Court at Auckland yesterday, Justice Rebecca Ellis sentenced the 28-year-old mother of a 4-year-old boy to seven years in prison for her role in the 2008 assault.

She ordered that Aziz serve a minimum three and a half years.

"I don't consider the normal parole period [two years] sufficient for the harm you have done," Justice Ellis said.

"You have caused him to lose everything."

Mr Johnson, who now lives in Australia, is permanently disfigured, has memory loss caused by his brain injuries and cannot smell or taste.

Unsuccessful surgery to his right eye has affected his sight, and parts of his face are numb.

Speaking from Sydney yesterday, he expressed his disgust at the term.

"She should have been sentenced to go to jail for a long time," he told the Weekend Herald.

"I almost died, and all she gets is seven years. I'm very angry."

Crown prosecutor Deb Bell said theformer takeaway store owner lost everything.

"His physical prowess, his mental normality, his marriage, his business, his friends ... and now he has left the country," she told the court.

Aziz sat in the dock with her head down crying, heavy eye make-up running down her face.

Her mother and brother were her sole supporters in the public gallery, showing no emotion as they sat in the back row.

Justice Ellis said Aziz had wanted her boss hurt, and didn't care how. The judge placed little importance on Aziz's claims of sexual harassment.

"I do not think you cared how that [beating] was achieved or how many people it took, and the reality is without you there, there would have been no attack at all."

According to a court summary, Aziz phoned Mr Johnson at 10.07pm on August 28, 2008, to check he was closing up.

He had taken over the business from its previous owner the previous May, and kept Aziz and her husband on as workers.

Three minutes later, as he turned the key in the lock, two men punched and kicked him to the floor.

Another man then emerged from the liquor store across the road.

This was the hired hitman - paid $3000 by Aziz - who hid at first because he knew Mr Johnson.

Every time Mr Johnson tried to stand, he was knocked back down and punched, kicked and stomped.

While another man acted as a look-out, the trio allegedly attacked Mr Johnson all at once in the kitchen - giving him a beating medical experts were amazed he survived.

A computer hard drive containing in-store security camera images was ripped out, and $300 was taken from Mr Johnson's pocket and $200 from the till.

He was left unconscious, bleeding profusely from the head.

Aziz's lawyer, Louise Freyer, said her client was a changed woman since going to prison in 2008.

"She is somewhat of a broken woman, she is very remorseful, she can't put the clock back," she said.

Aziz had written to Mr Johnson and offered to meet him.

But Justice Ellis wasn't having it.

"In some ways those letters and offer only increase my mystification as to how you came to be the person behind such a vicious and premeditated attack," she said.

Five men face charges in relation to the bashing, and are to appear in court at the end of the year.

- NZ Herald

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