A Tauranga man who last month admitted breaking into a woman's home 20 years ago and sexually assaulting her, blamed his behaviour on the sexual abuse he himself had suffered, the Rotorua High Court was told yesterday.

But since the offence he had lived a blameless life, Justice Paterson was told.

Louis Davies, 43, a former truck driver, was given a suspended sentence of two years in prison after facing one charge of burglary, one of indecent assault and one of having reckless disregard for the safety of the woman by disfiguring her face.

Justice Paterson said Davies had broken into a woman's home in Gisborne late one night in December 1979 while the woman was asleep and hit her about the face.


Davies then indecently assaulted the woman before leaving the house. He denied intending to rape the woman.

Justice Paterson said the victim suffered two black eyes and her nose was so badly dislocated and broken that she was left with a permanent disfigurement.

Immediately after the attack, she had been hospitalised for 17 days. The damage to her face was corrected only after surgery some time later.

A victim impact statement from the woman's daughter said the attack on her mother "left lasting effects" and "she became an old lady overnight who had moved from an independent woman to being a victim," Justice Paterson said.

After he was arrested, Davies had said the reason for the offending was because of "misconstrued ideas about sexual behaviour because of sexual abuse he suffered", Justice Paterson said.

During sentencing Crown prosecutor Rob Ronayne said there were several aggravating features in the case including a "considerable" amount of violence.

However, the incident occurred many years ago and Davies was a changed man. He did not consider it necessary to send Davies to prison.

Defence council Tony Balme said the court needed to consider how much progress Davies had made and the contribution he now made to the community through his church.

"The prisoner has shown on-going remorse. We have a man who basically lived a blameless life. Back in that period he didn't have his life in order, and there was alcohol, violence and anger with sexual depravity elements," Mr Balme said.

Justice Paterson sentenced Davies to a two-year suspended prison sentence, made up of six months for the burglary charge, one year for the indecent assault and two years for the disfiguring charge.