Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Teen allegedly raped and assaulted after running away from Starship, court told

Auckland District Court at 69 Albert street, Auckland. Stock photographs. 3 May 2016. New Zealand Herald photograph by Nick Reed
Auckland District Court at 69 Albert street, Auckland. Stock photographs. 3 May 2016. New Zealand Herald photograph by Nick Reed

She was 16 and had just run away from Starship Hospital when a homeless man allegedly forced her back to his tent with a knife to her back.

Jeremiah Ranapia then allegedly raped and sexually assaulted her, telling his friends the next day she was his girlfriend before she could run to a payphone and call the police, a court has been told.

Ranapia, 24, is on trial before a jury at the Auckland District Court on six counts of sexual violation by way of unlawful sexual connection and four charges of rape. He has denied the charges.

Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey said in his opening today Ranapia "marched" the teenager down to his tent in the Auckland Domain on the night of October 10, 2015.

However, the defendant's lawyer, David Dickinson, said "there's always two sides to every story" and the defence would be based on consent.

The jury was then shown a 55 minute police interview with his alleged victim who also appeared via a video link.

In short sentences and a quiet voice, the young woman said after she ran away from Starship - which she'd done a few times before - and went down "the main street in Auckland" where she saw some homeless people she knew.

Ranapia was there with his brother, asked her name and told her his was Jeremiah before he pulled a knife on her.

Along with his brother, who he kept calling "bro", they walked down to the Domain to his navy one-man tent where he slept on a foam mattress.

"Then I had to do what he told me to do."

She then detailed the alleged sexual offending which went on throughout the night and made her feel sore, she said in the police interview.

"I kept saying no, I said no to him and he pulled the knife out at me and said you've got to do what I tell you to do."

After he was done, the woman turned onto her stomach so he couldn't touch her anymore and he fell asleep.

When asked why she didn't run away, she said it was because he wasn't properly asleep and she was scared he would be angry and his brother would be outside.

The next morning, he told her "you're coming with me" before making her put her clothes back on and grabbing the knife, which she described as a hunting and fishing knife.

They met up with some of his friends at a bus stop and he called her "babe" and told her his brother was next with her.

At one point she managed to duck into a Spark payphone and called 111.

"I said I had a knife pulled on me and that my vagina was very sore," she said in the interview.

But Ranapia grabbed the phone as she was talking and hung up.

The police showed up anyway so Ranapia and his friends decided to move from the bus stop which is when the teenager ran to an officer, she said.

The teenager will be cross-examined tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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