Prison for man who lashed out at family

By Melissa Nightingale

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A man who smashed a car with a golf club while a family with a baby was inside has been sent to prison.

Uriah Te Rauma Te Rangi Mariee Ponga lashed out at one of his victims on January 3.
The victim went to Ponga and asked for $40 he was owed, Judge David Cameron told the Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

"No, I'm broke," Ponga replied, to which the victim said: "Come on, I need the money."
When the victim looked away, Ponga punched him three times in the head, knocking him to the ground.

"The defendant stood over him and continued to punch him before stomping on him numerous times in the head, arm and leg regions," Judge Cameron said. The victim managed to get up and climb out an open window and run to his car, which had a crying baby in the back seat.

The victim told his partner to get in but, before he could get away, Ponga came out of the house and carried on punching him in the head through the open driver's door.

Ponga then grabbed a golf club and chased the car, smashing two windows, including the one above the baby, Judge Cameron said.

"The defendant claims not to have known that children were inside the car."

Ponga pleaded guilty to assault with intent to injure and wilful damage. He also pleaded guilty to two unrelated charges of breaching a protection order.

The first arose from an incident on December 3, when Ponga was arguing with his off and on partner of 10 years.

"The defendant went outside and started screaming and yelling abuse," Judge Cameron said.

He went to another door and tried to get back inside the house, and began kicking it when he couldn't.

On December 20, an argument started between the pair when the victim accused Ponga of smoking P.

Ponga verbally abused the victim before picking up her keys and taking a key to her workplace off the key ring.

He refused to leave the house, although the victim told him to "numerous times".

Judge Cameron said Ponga had an "extensive" criminal history. He sentenced Ponga to six months in prison with six months of post-release conditions, and ordered him to pay reparation of $500 to the first victim.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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