Judge warns assailant to expect harsh sentence

By Trevor Quinn

A Carterton man who pleaded guilty in Masterton District Court yesterday to seven charges which included threatening to kill his partner and her 3-year-old son, assaulting them both and attacking his own mother, was told to expect a severe sentence.

Calvin Charles Zabell, 21, forestry worker, also faces charges of possessing an offensive weapon, wilful damage and theft.

Prosecutor Sergeant Garry Wilson said on February 8 Zabell was driving from Lower Hutt to Masterton, with his partner and her son.

His partner had been given a digital camera by her father and Zabell became irate when she refused to give it to him.

She was punched repeatedly with such force her head and face kept banging into the passenger window. Zabell refused to acknowledge her requests to stop the car.

Mr Wilson said Zabell then told the woman he was going to kill her and her son.

The woman climbed onto the back seat to get away from Zabell who continued to attack her by unleashing a series of swinging punches.

Zabell struck the young boy and continued driving to a house in High St, Masterton.

He drove up the driveway, got out and proceeded to drag the woman from the car and inside by her hair.

He told her to take off her clothes and her son's clothes as they were covered in blood.

Soon afterwards Zabell took the boy into the bathroom and his now-estranged partner managed to escape, fleeing to an hotel.

On reaching the hotel she asked for help before returning to the house.

Zabell confronted the woman while his mother, who had arrived at the home, stood between them and tried to calm the situation.

Zabell then hit his mother with a back-handed blow to her jaw.

She left the house taking the woman and boy with her.

Zabell found the woman's mobile phone and snapped it in half. He also opened the woman's digital camera and took out the battery.

Police located Zabell's car in Carterton, finding an aluminium baseball bat in the front passenger footwell.

When spoken to Zabell told police his partner had endangered their lives by pulling on the handbrake and putting a towel over his face while he was driving.

He said he kept a baseball bat in his car to protect himself.

Judge Pat Grace said that the level of violence shown by Zabell almost certainly ruled out a community based sentence.

"In my view, with that level of violence, the chance of you being released with a community based sentence is slim," the judge said.

Zabell's solicitor James Elliot said alcohol was a factor in the case.

Judge Grace remanded Zabell in custody until April 11 and ordered an alcohol and drug assessment be carried out.


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