Northlander convicted of sex crimes jailed for 24 years

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Allan Titford is being sentenced today for sex and violence crimes. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Allan Titford is being sentenced today for sex and violence crimes. Photo/Michael Cunningham

A prominent Northland man convicted of 39 sex and violence charges spanning more than two decades has been jailed for a total of 24 years.

Failed Far North mayoral candidate Allan Titford was sentenced in the Whangarei District Court today after he was convicted by a jury on 14 charges of assault with a weapon, seven of assault, four of male assaults female, three of assault on a child, three of sexual violation, two of arson, and single charges of using a document with intention to defraud, threatening to kill, assault using a weapon, perjury, attempting to pervert the course of justice and discharging a firearm.

The sexual offences were committed against his former wife Susan Cochrane who in an unusual step waived her right for name suppression so Titford could be named.

In her victim impact statement read to the court today Ms Cochrane said she had been kept as a slave for 22 years.

She said Titford kept telling her she was a useless mother while his screaming and threatening was gut-wrenching for her.

"I didn't have the guts to wake up to his violence earlier," she said.

She said a doctor prescribed her anti-depressants in 1995 and said her former husband robbed her kids of their childhood and she feels guilty of not protecting them.

Ms Cochrane said she thought of taking her own life a number of times but couldn't do it.

"I never had the chance to share the special bond with my kids. I am a victim of violence but more importantly my children became victims. Unfortunately I can't give their childhood back," she said in court today.

"I don't hate him but hate myself for what he did to me. My life was his to do as he wanted. For once I don't have to worry about getting punished. You held me prisoner for 22 years. Now it's your turn to feel what we went through."

Titford came to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s over a dispute with the Crown over a farm he owned at Maunganui Bluff.

The land was subject to a claim by Maori and was eventually bought by the Crown to give to the hapu. Titford claimed that the hapu had torched his home and caused plenty of other damage to his farm during the dispute.

But the verdicts show that he made up many of his claims.

Titford was a Mayoral candidate for the Far North in last month's local body elections and his trial was held during the campaign. However, suppression orders in place at the time prevented the media from revealing that fact he was on trial.

The previous longest jail term handed out in Northland was to convicted murderer Wayne Bracken, 36, last year. Bracken was sentenced to life in jail with a minimum non parole period of 21 years for the murder of Aucklander Jack Davis on February 25, 2011.

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