Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Dome Valley defendant changes plea mid-trial

Michelle Blom, Nicola Jones, Julie-Ann Torrance, Cameron Hakeke, (court security), Wayne Blackett. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Michelle Blom, Nicola Jones, Julie-Ann Torrance, Cameron Hakeke, (court security), Wayne Blackett. Photo / Brett Phibbs

One of the Dome Valley defendants has admitted some of the charges she faces mid-way through the trial.

Julie-Ann Torrance this afternoon changed her plea from not guilty on three charges but is still defending counts of attempted murder, sexual violation and assault.

In front of the jury at the High Court in Auckland, Torrance admitted assaulting the teenage victim with a Taser.

She also pleaded guilty to being a party to assault with a cricket wicket, assault with scissors and injuring with intent.

The trial of the five defendants is now in its second week and will continue as they've all pleaded not guilty to different roles during two attacks on the same woman.

Justice Christian Whata instructed the jury it was up to them to decide what role each of the defendants played.

He also reminded them that just because one defendant had admitted one charge, they mustn't assume the other defendants were also guilty.

The Crown claims Nicola Jones orchestrated the kidnappings because she believed the then 19-year-old victim had slept with her boyfriend.

The woman says she was abducted twice in two weeks and was sexually violated, Tasered, had her hair hacked off, was beaten with a cricket wicket, robbed of her car and had her fingers broken.

The Crown says she was then left for dead on the side of the road in Dome Valley after being beaten around the head with a hammer, suffering at least seven blows.

Cameron Hakeke faces charges for the April 23 abduction, Wayne Blackett and Michelle Blom were allegedly involved in the May 7 attack and Jones and Torrance have been charged in relation to both.

Previously, the jury heard the woman say she was ambushed by Jones and Torrance after being lured to Hakeke's house for a meth deal.

There her long hair was hacked to her shoulders, she was punched and kicked, Tasered, burned with a hot meth pipe, had a knife held to her throat and was forced to sign over ownership of her car, she told the court via an audio-visual link.

She was then driven to the Bombay Hills and told to never return to Auckland or she'd "get more of the same".

Two weeks later, Jones spotted her on K Rd, working as a prostitute, before she was dragged to a car and driven to Blom's house on Great North Rd, Kelston.

The woman said over about 20 hours she was forced to strip naked, cable-tied, sexually violated, beaten and had her hair cut close to her scalp.

All she was given throughout the ordeal was two pieces of toast but no fluids, she said.

As she lay in the basement, she said she could hear Jones and Torrance say they were scared the police would find out what they'd done. But a man, Blackett, reassured them.

"I heard a man's voice say: 'Don't worry, we'll do it properly the police will never find the body'."

When she heard that, she said she "started crapping" herself.

"I thought they were going to kill me."

Before the teenager was taken to Dome Valley, she was dressed in overalls and allegedly Jones put a balaclava backwards on the woman so she couldn't see.

"The whole time I was just thinking, 'Just go with the flow. Do whatever they tell you to.' Because that's the kind of person I am, I'll do anything and everything to avoid confrontation."

When they got to Dome Valley, she was taken out of the vehicle's tray and the man with "big hands" tried to break her neck before she was knocked out.

THE CHARGES

Nicola Monique Jones, 29, of Tauranga: Attempted murder, sexual violation, injuring with intent, assault with Taser, threatening to kill.

Julie-Ann Torrance, 42, of Henderson: Attempted murder, sexual violation, assault with scissors.

Wayne Edward Blackett, 39, of Manurewa: Sexual violation, assault with a cricket bat, assault with scissors.

Michelle Blom, 30, of Glen Eden: Kidnapping, sexual violation, assault with a cricket bat, assault with scissors, injuring with intent.

Cameron Te Hau Kareti Hakeke, 34, Green Bay: Kidnapping, assault with a Taser, assault with scissors, robbing victim of a car, iPad, phone and other items.

- NZ Herald

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