Home detention for mallet attack

By Edward Gay

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Lance Bain waited nearly two weeks before seeking medical help for a maggot-infested wound that later cost him his life.

The red Ferrari lover had grown apart from his loving family as he plunged into a world of alcohol abuse.

The High Court at Auckland heard from Mr Bain's teenage daughters Shelby and Caitlin who spoke of their love for Mr Bain and their regret that they had grown apart.

"Any chance to redeem himself and recover from his addictions has been robbed from him,'' Shelby Bain told the court.

She said she "broke contact'' with her father because his behaviour frightened her.

"My father and I had a very strained relationship. It will always hurt me that I didn't get a chance to say goodbye, given his sudden violent death.''

Mr Bain's former partner Natalie Ann Reader - also known as Natalie van Breugel - was sentenced today (Wed) to 12 months home detention and 400 hours community work.

The 46-year-old alcoholic had originally been charged with manslaughter, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

However, the Crown downgraded the charge to injuring with intent to injure, which has a maximum of seven years in prison.

Crown lawyer Kirsten Lummis asked the court to send Reader to prison.

But Reader's lawyer Chris Wilkinson-Smith said his client was attending Alcoholics Anonymous sessions every Saturday night and was taking part in courses that helped her deal with her mood and stress levels.

He said she also needed to look after her young son, and that could happen only if Reader was given home detention.

In sentencing, Justice Mary Peters took into account Reader's early guilty plea, her previous good record, and the fact she had sought help for her alcoholism.

But she also had a warning for Reader if she chose to drink again.

"If you breach any conditions, then Probation can apply to have a sentence varied and a sentence of imprisonment imposed.''

According to the police summary of facts, Mr Bain was sleeping at van Breugel's home in November last year when she attacked him with a mallet.

She was furious at Mr Bain for selling a car that she believed was at least partly hers and she did not want to sell.

She had also seen text messages on Mr Bain's phone from a woman police describe as a "female associate''.

Van Breugel struck Mr Bain repeatedly with the mallet, hitting him in the arms, torso and legs and left him with bruises on his arms and his left leg.

Later that day the argument continued, loud enough for neighbours to call police.

Mr Bain got in his car to leave van Breugel's place and she thumped on the window with her fist and yelled something like: "Open the door you f***ing bastard, I am going to kill you ...''

About half-an-hour later, police pulled Mr Bain over and breath-tested him. He was nearly four times over the limit, recording a level of 1573 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

Police noticed the bruising to Mr Bain's body and offered to get him medical help, but he declined.

It was not until 11 days later on November 28 that Mr Bain was taken to hospital.

Police say the leg wound was "infested with maggots'' and he had developed a bacterial infection. His alcohol reading on that day was similar to the breath-test taken by police on the day of the attack.

Five days later Mr Bain died. According to police, his alcoholism had left him vulnerable to the bacterial infection which eventually overwhelmed his body.

A Friend of Mr Bain told the Weekend Herald in December last year that the 43-year-old had made his fortune selling cars and in property, but lost millions in recent years after a difficult break-up with with his wife, Michele.

He had once owned two red Ferraris and lived in some of Auckland's most exclusive suburbs but lost all of his properties in mortgagee sales.

In 2005, the family featured in a Herald property story which said the family were moving out of their $2 million Orakei home because it was too big for them.

That house had a gym, internal courtyard with fireplace, air conditioning in three of the four bedrooms and a projection TV, as well as views of Hobson Bay, the city and the harbour.

- APNZ

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