Teen who stole Gavin Hayes' car to spend Christmas behind bars

By Katie Holland

The teenage girl who stole 82-year-old Gavin Hayes' car will spend Christmas in custody after her sentencing was again deferred.

Janaya Ashby, 17, appeared in Rotorua District Court before Judge Phil Gittos yesterday for sentencing on 14 charges to which she had previously pleaded guilty. They included unlawfully taking Mr Hayes' car, failing to stop, driving dangerously and driving while forbidden, all on October 9. She also admitted taking another car, burglary, trespass and a breach of bail.

In October The Daily Post reported how Mr Hayes had been targeted by teenagers, who were stealing from him. It led to him being given a new car and more than $4000 was raised for him.

Ashby's sentencing had been set for October but was delayed to allow probation to prepare a home detention report.

Ashby's lawyer, Wiremu Te Are, said a Wanganui address included in that report was no longer available, as the family members had moved. The new address, also in Wanganui, would need to be checked before sentencing, given home detention was possible.

Given the next available sentencing date was not until 2013, Mr Te Are asked the judge to consider releasing Ashby on bail into the care of a family member, who was present in court.

"That family support she did not have in the past and has now could be the changing point she needs to turn her life around," Mr Te Are said. "12 months ago we'd never heard of this woman. She's managed to dig a very deep hole for herself in a very short time."

However bail was opposed by police, who said there had been no significant change in circumstances since bail was denied in October.

Judge Gittos said he was reluctant to keep a young person in custody for a relatively lengthy remand but it appeared to be inevitable.

"It might be you would not present a further risk to the community but that is by no means a given," he told Ashby.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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