Home detention for sexual assault on French tourist

Steve Enting admitted touching the victim. Photo / File
Steve Enting admitted touching the victim. Photo / File

A man who continually sexually assaulted a drunk French tourist despite her repeatedly telling him to stop said the victim was "into it".

Steve Enting, 30, has been sentenced to 12 months home detention for having an unlawful sexual connection with the victim. He pleaded guilty to the charge.

The victim was staying at the Palace Backpackers in Nelson in April last year, while Enting was also a resident there. He had met the victim a couple of times before the offending.

He and the victim went to a music concert at the Ngatimoti Hall at Motueka Valley, Tasman, and while there the victim drank a large amount of wine and became so drunk she threw up at the venue, Judge Ruth said at the Nelson District Court.

Enting offered for the victim to sleep on a mattress in his van, and returned to the concert without her.

When he came back to the van, he brought one of the victim's friends, who also slept in the van with them.

Enting lay down in the van and began touching the victim, who woke up and told him she did not want him to touch her, Judge Ruth said.

He stopped, but started again once the victim was asleep. This happened a number of times, with the victim telling him each time to stop. She woke in the morning to find her pants were off.

"Whilst the sexual activity was taking place in the van, her friend, who was lying in front of the complainant, could hear you kissing the complainant's body. She also overheard the complainant telling you to stop touching her a number of times, to which she heard you reply 'why?'"

When investigators talked to Enting, he admitted touching the victim.

"You stated further that the complainant was 'into it' and the only reason she stopped was because the complainant's associate woke."

The victim said in an impact statement she was afraid of facing Enting again.

"When it happened she thought this was pretty serious and that you were not going to stop, and that she would simply have to try and run away. She started to think about her friends and was very scared. She felt trapped because your arms were around her, and she had to push you away to move away from you."

The victim wondered what might have happened if her friend had not been in the van with them.

"She feels that you have destroyed her life during those past few months, and she has had to have therapy and a lot of support from friends to get away from the feelings she has," Judge Ruth said.

"She has trust issues. She has trouble with transport. She does not feel strong enough to come back and say what happened to her."

Crown prosecutor Sefton Revell said the victim was "vulnerable", being that she was young, intoxicated, and in a foreign country.

Defence lawyer Tony Bamford said Enting had not planned to take advantage of the victim, as he had offered her the van because she was unwell.

"Indeed, one can go further and say that of course for similar reasons you permitted her associate or friend to also sleep in the van, again Mr Bamford says detracting away from any notion that this was all a jack up effectively to get her alone in the van in a compromising situation where she was clearly intoxicated and where you might more easily break down any resistance she might have," Judge Ruth said.

Enting also offered to make an emotional harm reparation payment.

He will pay $4000 to the victim.

- NZ Herald

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