Opotiki sex attacker gets preventive detention

By Jill Nicholas -

An Opotiki man has been given the open-ended sentence of preventive detention for what a judge said was the protection of vulnerable women in particular and the community in general.

Justice Simon Moore imposed the lengthy prison term on Bligh Lawson Thompson, 48, in the High Court at Rotorua on Friday.

He ordered a minimum period of imprisonment of five years on each of the three charges Thompson faced - unlawful detention, sexual violation by rape and unlawful sexual connection. Thompson pleaded guilty to the charges as his trial was about to commence in April.

Justice Moore noted Thompson's March 2013 offending against a young Opotiki woman he didn't know was a virtual carbon copy of what he'd done to an Auckland woman 18 years earlier.

For that he'd been jailed for 9½ years, subsequently breaching his parole and being returned to prison.

CCTV footage which captured Thompson chasing and wrestling with his victim was described by the judge as "disturbing and graphic".

He said out of respect for the woman's dignity he wouldn't read her victim impact statement out in open court but noted it made harrowing reading.

The victim had declined to read it herself and did not come into the courtroom until the final stages of the sentencing process began, steadfastly keeping her eyes averted from the dock.

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