Texts and threats lead to community service

By melissa.nightingale@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

Photo/File
Photo/File

A case involving false identities and threats to children came through Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

The victim started receiving text messages on December 30, seemingly from a former flatmate, saying he was going to burn the victim's house down.

The texts, however, were from Whanganui man Jarred Munro, pretending to be the former flatmate. The victim knows Munro.

The victim, concerned about the texts, laid a complaint with police.

Munro appeared in the Whanganui District Court this week to be sentenced on charges of offensive use of a telephone and using a telephone for a fictitious purpose. He has pleaded guilty.

On January 13, Munro again sent text messages to the victim while pretending to be the former flatmate, saying he was on the way to the victim's house and was going to kill the victim's 11-year-old daughter.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Stephen Butler said Munro also made threats and "other indecent suggestions" about the child.

On January 15, Munro sent messages pretending to be a disability worker who both men knew.

He sent 10 messages and "stated the victim's daughter was having sex with the defendant", Mr Butler said.

In the last text he "changed identity" and pretended to be the former flatmate again, claiming responsibility for the conversation.

Over this period, the victim had discussed the messages with Munro.

On January 16, Munro made 11 phone calls to police, pretending to be the victim, saying he wanted to withdraw the complaint.

"The defendant was identified by police communications through the cellphone link and repeatedly warned for the fictitious calls, but the defendant kept ringing back, claiming that he was being set up," Mr Butler said.

He then hid two sim cards he'd used in the victim's bedroom "in an effort to corroborate his story of being set up".

The victim found the sim cards and gave them to police.

When police spoke to Munro about his offending, he said he did it because he felt he was ripped off over money, Mr Butler said.

He said he pretended to be the victim's former flatmate because he knew the victim didn't like the man.

Defence lawyer Anna Brosnahan said the court had heard a "long, convoluted summary of facts".

She said Munro was "known to community mental health services".

Judge David Cameron sentenced Munro to 75 hours' community work and ordered the destruction of the phone and sims.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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