Man in PJs dragged to ATM

By Melissa Nightingale

Whanganui District Court  Photo/File
Whanganui District Court Photo/File

A pyjama-clad man was dragged to different Whanganui ATMs, having been blackmailed into withdrawing money to save the life of a "beaten and raped" family friend.

The victim opened his door on August 2 last year to find Levi Lenoel trussed up on his doorstep, but he did not know it was all part of an elaborate scheme to trick him out of thousands of dollars.

Lenoel and his co-offender, Julian Gunn, had hatched a plan to make the victim think Lenoel owed the Head Hunters gang $3000 and had been kidnapped and beaten up by representatives of the gang, including Gunn.

Gunn drove to the victim's Whanganui home at 8.20am with Lenoel tied up in the boot, Judge David Cameron said during Gunn's sentencing in the Whanganui District Court yesterday.

The victim did not know Gunn, but had known Lenoel since the latter was 7 years old.

Gunn placed Lenoel on the ground outside the back door, tied hand to foot, and knocked on the door.

He hid in the bushes as the victim opened the door to find Lenoel lying there. Gunn then revealed himself and told the victim Lenoel owed the money, and that he was there to collect it from the victim.

"You have to help me out," Lenoel told the victim. "I've been in the boot of his car all night and been beaten and raped."

The victim and Gunn carried Lenoel into the house. Once inside, Lenoel again pleaded for help, "or they will kill me and deal to my family and mum".

He said the gang members had two other people as hostages.

Gunn produced a knife.

He "stated he would need at least $2000 to stop the 'dealing' being given to Lenoel".

Gunn "refused the victim's request to get changed out of his pyjamas" and announced they would go to an ATM.

When he and the victim went away and returned to the lounge, Lenoel was attempting to hold a fire poker as a weapon, Judge Cameron said.

"The victim tried to pick up the poker himself but Gunn flashed the knife at him, making him step back. He flashed the knife towards the victim's abdomen."

The knife came within 45cm of the victim's body. Gunn then flashed the knife at Lenoel.

He untied Lenoel and they drove to the Gull service station at the end of Victoria Ave. Gunn kept making threats to the victim and members of his family.

"Under duress, and still wearing his pyjamas, the victim made two separate withdrawals of $1000 in cash from the ATM."

The victim asked "Is this the end of it?" as he handed over the money. Gunn took him to another ATM for a further $1000 but the transaction was declined. Gunn told Lenoel he'd bought himself another month to find the rest of the money.

They drove back to the victim's house and told him not to go to the police. Lenoel told the victim not to tell his mother, before getting back into Gunn's car.

"When the victim asked Lenoel where he was going, Lenoel replied that he had to go with this defendant and give the money directly to one of his 'bosses' and tell them how he would pay the rest."

Gunn has pleaded guilty to blackmail.

Judge Cameron sentenced him to 18 months prison with six months post-release conditions, and ordered he pay $1000 reparation. Lenoel is to be sentenced on Monday.

- Wanganui Chronicle

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 06 Dec 2016 07:52:29 Processing Time: 592ms