Man to be sentenced today for vicious sex attack on Whangarei woman

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The Hatea Loop is popular with walkers and runners. Photo / Michael Cunningham
The Hatea Loop is popular with walkers and runners. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Sentencing for a man who assaulted, abducted and sexually violated a Whangarei woman jogger in an early morning attack has started in the High Court in Whangarei.

Haydn Teoneroa Christy, 40, carried out a vicious sexual attack on a woman who was on her early-morning jog on the popular Hatea Loop Walkway at 6.30am on April 29.

Christy pleaded guilty via audio visual link from Auckland on July 28 to four counts of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, one of abduction for the purpose of sexual violation; two of threatening to kill, and one each of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one of injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Christy assaulted the woman and abducted her from the Loop, took her in his car to a city address, sexually violated and seriously assaulted her, then dumped her in a city street. A member of the public found her and called emergency services just before 7.30am. She spent days in hospital recovering from her injuries.

He was to be sentenced on the charges in the Whangarei District Court today but the matter was instead transferred to the High Court for sentencing.

The attack caused outrage in the city and sparked a Reclaim Our Loop rally, which saw more than 1000 people walk the loop two days later in a show of solidarity for the woman, one of the organisers said.

The Reclaim Our Loop rally was organised by 10 mothers who run the track regularly, with the aim of making the space feel safe again and to raise money for the victim, who is in her 20s.

The attack also spurred the Whangarei District Council to bring forward plans to have lighting on part of the loop and to put in CCTV cameras, which are now in place.

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