Death threats to cop's family

By Katie Holland

A Rotorua man who threatened to kill a police officer's children and rape his wife has been jailed for eight months.

Samuel Rota, 38, was sentenced in Rotorua District Court yesterday after previously pleading guilty to one charge of threatening to kill, two charges of theft and one charge of disorderly behaviour.

Judge Jocelyn Munro said all the charges stemmed from an incident on February 20 this year.

She said Rota, who had been drinking heavily, stole a postcard from a souvenir shop then went to another shop and stole a T-shirt. He was approached by staff and became abusive. Police were called and Rota was taken to the police station.

There Rota made "serious and significant" threats to a police officer that went well beyond the usual "abusive comments" police regularly had to deal with, she said.

Rota told the officer he would recognise him by his tattoo, threatened to "blow his head off" and reminded the officer he was a "patched mobster".

"You said... you would shoot him and his children and that you would rape his wife," she said. "The police officer was understandably concerned about those threats."

The judge said in his victim impact statement the officer described how Rota "looked him dead in the eye" when he made the threats and repeated them three hours later when the officer went off duty.

In court, Rota told the judge he wished to apologise to the police officer. He said he was intoxicated, and didn't mean the threats.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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