Kneel down and pray, victim told

By Don Farmer

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A bizarre train of events that led to a Greytown student assaulting a classmate in a cemetery has resulted in the attacker being convicted and warned he could be facing an electronically monitored punishment when sentenced on July 11.

Anthony Sene Faafoi,18, pleaded guilty to the cemetery bashing and to a further unrelated charge of unlawfully taking a vehicle.

Prosecutor Sergeant Garry Wilson said on the morning of March 1, Faafoi and a student who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome were among those attending a basic computer and English course at the YMCA in Masterton.

Faafoi approached the other young man and told him to come with him to Queen Elizabeth Park as he wanted to show him a grave in the old cemetery behind the park. Faafoi said there was a grave there that, if you looked at it and counted to 10, "something would happen".

When the two arrived at the grave, the victim of the later assault was told to kneel down, close his eyes and hold his hands together "as if he was praying".

He did so and Faafoi then started counting. When he got to nine, Faafoi suddenly kicked the kneeling man in the chest.

The man toppled over but got up only to be punched on the back of his head, falling to the ground.

He was then punched again on his forehead and mouth as he lay on the ground and when he again got up Faafoi punched him in the eye at the same time demanding to know why his victim had given his name to police.

He told the injured man not to tell anyone what had happened and to say, if questioned over his injuries, he had fallen over.

The injured man was left with a cut eyelid, bruised chest and bruised mouth.

When police later spoke to Faafoi he told them he had taken the man to the cemetery to give him "a hiding" as the man had given him cheek on earlier occasions and had passed his name to police when he was suspected of shoplifting.

Regarding the unlawful taking of a car, Faafoi pleaded guilty to taking the vehicle from the home of a Greytown man he occasionally helped shift furniture.

He had, unknown to the vehicle's owner, taken the spare key and on a later day when the owner was not home had taken the car from the driveway, down to the Waiohine River to do "drifts" in loose gravel.

He later picked up a friend and returned to the river to do the same again but was seen returning the car at 3.30pm.

The car was badly scratched but the owner was not seeking reparation for the damage.

Judge Bill Hastings remanded Faafoi on bail until July 11 for sentencing and said he was considering the possibility of an electronically monitored sentence.


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