Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

The Big Read: How a teen ended up being left for dead in Dome Valley

Michelle Blom, Nicola Jones, Julie-Ann Torrance, Cameron Hakeke, a court security guard and  Wayne Blackett.
Michelle Blom, Nicola Jones, Julie-Ann Torrance, Cameron Hakeke, a court security guard and Wayne Blackett.

The 19-year-old was left for dead on the side of the road last May with at least seven holes in her skull, bound, beaten and violated.

Throughout the three-week trial, a jury at the Auckland High Court heard from a number of witnesses, including the woman herself who gave evidence via an audio-visual link so she didn't have to face her attackers.

The Crown said the fact she survived the abductions and beatings was "nothing short of a miracle".

Today, after five and a half hours of deliberations, the jury found Nicola Jones, Julie-Ann Torrance, Michelle Blom and Cameron Hakeke guilty of various roles in the two attacks.

Wayne Blackett pleaded guilty to kidnapping and attempting to murder the teen at the start of the trial, and Jaclyn Keates has already been jailed for her role.

This is how the woman ended up being cast aside on the edge of the road like a pile of rubbish late one Sunday night.

A LONG AND COMPLICATED STORY

The teenager lay crumpled and curled on the side of the road. Her limbs were bound, her skull smashed and hair hacked to tufts.

She was so still that the woman who came across her seemingly lifeless and broken body in Dome Valley first thought it was a pile of rubbish, cast aside by someone overnight.

"But when I flicked my headlights on, I saw the person move - the leg moved," she told the court.

Frightened, the woman stopped dead in the road and wondered what to do. From behind the wheel she could see it was someone lying on their side but was too scared to get out.

She went to get her husband, who called 111, and they went back to help the crumpled person left lying in a pool of blood.

When they got closer, they could see it was a woman because her make-up had run down her face.

"I kept talking to her, I kept saying, 'We're here to help. Help is on the way. You'll be okay'. But there was no response."

The prosecution said the story of how the teen ended up dumped for dead on the verge of the road is "long and complicated" and began with an allegation that the woman had an affair with her friend's ex-boyfriend.

Nicola Jones grew up with the victim after her mother took her in off the streets. They were friends, virtually sisters, and lived together on and off throughout their lives.

When the victim first moved to Auckland, it was Jones who first introduced her to prostitution and they often worked the streets together.

But in January, 2015, Jones had her two children taken away from her and she became convinced the victim had given Child Youth and Family a sworn affidavit.

Jones also believed the woman had an affair with her ex-boyfriend.

She texted the victim's mother that she would kill her if she ever saw her again.

"Your daughter is history."

JONES WANTED REVENGE

And so, along with her best friend Julie-Ann Torrance, the Crown said she plotted her revenge.

They asked their mutual friend, Cameron Hakeke, also known as "Cinnamon", to lure her to his Green Bay home for a meth deal on April 23.

It was there the woman was ambushed.

As she walked up the stairs she saw Torrance. Surprised and expecting Hakeke, she said: "Oh hi".

The woman said Torrance replied: "Oh hi, is that all you've got to say?"

Jones then jumped out from behind the door and tackled her to the ground. Jones and Torrance then started kicking her in the head and stomach.

She said they then pulled out a "stun gun" and took it in turns to taser her under her arms and between her thighs.

After she was told they were going to kill her whole family and make her watch, Jones left and Torrance smoked meth from a pipe.

She then rolled the hot pipe down her leg.

"It was excruciating. The pain was the worst pain I'd ever felt in my life."

Jones and Hakeke returned and along with Torrance they started to hack off her long hair to her shoulders, the woman said.

The two women then held the woman's own flip-knife to her neck and forced her to sign a piece of paper which meant she was signing over her car to them.

"I was living out of my car at the time so it had everything I owned in it."

They then all got in her car - Jones drove and Torrance was in the back with the woman - and went out to the Bombay Hills.

She was let out of the car and the woman said Jones and Torrance told her to hitch-hike back to her mother's place in Taupo, and to never to return to Auckland.

THE CHARGES FOR THE FIRST ATTACK:

Torrance earlier pleaded guilty to attacking the woman with a Taser, while she and Jones both pleaded guilty to attacking and robbing the young woman during the same incident.

Today, Jones was also found guilty of tasering the young woman.

Hakeke, was found guilty of kidnapping and assaulting the woman by cutting her hair, but was found not guilty of aggravated robbery and tasering her.

THE SECOND ATTACK

Two weeks later, Jones spotted the woman working on K Rd and dragged her to a car where Torrance, Michelle Blom and Jaclyn Keats were waiting. They'd all been at a "meth party" at Blom's house where they'd drunk alcohol and smoked meth.

Jones forced the woman into the back of the car and the others started punching her in the head. Somewhere along Great North Rd, they forced her into the boot.

Thinking "this time they're going to kill me" the woman rubbed some of the blood coming from her nose in different parts of the boot for the police to find.

They returned to Blom's house further along the same road and she was taken into the basement. A tarpaulin was laid out on the ground.

She was told to place her left hand on the ground before Keates stomped on it, breaking two of her fingers.

"It didn't hurt very much but I think it was probably because of the adrenaline that was pumping through me."

The woman said she was told to strip naked and bend over before she was hit about five times with a weapon which was later established to be a cricket stump.

"It was excruciating. It was hard enough to literally sting."

She was then sexually violated.

Afterwards, Jones bound her wrists, knees and ankles with cable ties and she was left in the basement for about 20 hours with two bathroom breaks.

At one point Jones gave her some toast but no fluids, the woman said.

"When she brought it down to me, it was only two pieces, but I was still grateful for it."

As she lay there, she heard Keates leave and a man, Blackett, arrive. The woman said they were scared the police would find out what they'd done.

"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 "started crapping" herself.

"I thought they were going to kill me."

LEFT FOR DEAD

Before she was taken out to Dome Valley, she was dressed in overalls and Jones allegedly put a balaclava backwards on her 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 ute's tray and that's where the person with "big hands" - the man - tried to break her neck before she was knocked out.

THE CHARGES FOR THE SECOND ATTACK:

Jones and Torrance were convicted of laughing and egging co-accused Wayne Blackett on as he tried to snap the young woman's neck.

Blackett had admitted to the attempted murder at the start of the trial. He had charges of sexual violation and assault dismissed by Justice Christian Whata.

Torrance was also found guilty of sexually violating the young woman as they held her captive. Jones was found not guilty on that charge.

Torrance was found guilty of a further charge of cutting the woman's hair during the attack.

The jury also convicted Michelle Blom of taking part in kidnapping the young woman but found her not guilty of beating or sexually assaulting her.

INJURIES CONSISTENT WITH A HAMMER

A pathologist gave evidence that the holes in her head were consistent with being caused by a hammer.

The holes in her skull also matched tears to a balaclava which the Crown said the woman was found wearing.

She also had injuries on her wrists and ankles consistent with cable ties and "train-track bruising" on her buttocks which could have been inflicted by a cricket bat, Stables said.

She was in intensive care for two weeks before moving to a brain injury unit where she still needed feeding through a nasal tube.

THE ATTACKERS:

Nicola Jones: Found guilty of threatening to kill, attempted murder, injuring with intent, and assault with a Taser. She was found not guilty of sexual violation. She earlier plead guilty to two charges of kidnapping, stealing a car, and three charges of assault with a weapon

Julie-Ann Torrance: Found guilty of assault with a weapon, sexual violation and attempted murder. She earlier plead guilty to two charges of assault with a weapon, kidnapping, and injuring with intent

Michelle Blom: Found guilty of kidnapping and found not guilty of injuring with intent, two charges of assault with a weapon and sexual violation

Cameron Hakeke: Found guilty of kidnapping and assault with a weapon. He was found not guilty of aggravated robbery and an additional charge of assault with a weapon.

THE OTHERS:

Wayne Blackett: At the start of the trial admitted attempting to murder and kidnapping the teen. He had charges of sexual violation and assault dismissed by the judge.

Jaclyn Keates: Did not go to trial and admitted kidnapping, assault with a weapon and injuring with intent to injure. She was jailed for three years and two months in December.

- NZ Herald

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