A Cambridge horse rider on trial for sexually abusing young girls with her partner has described their relationship as "intense", including times when he strangled her to the point of unconsciousness.
"I'm not sure what I did to make him so angry, but I did. He grabbed me by the neck and yelled 'Why do you have to make me so angry, why can't you keep me happy?' and told me I was worthless," Laken Rose told the High Court this morning.
"I couldn't breath..he completely overpowered me."
Laken Maree Rose has pleaded not guilty to 50 charges of sexual violation, indecently assaulting children under 12, making objectionable publications, possessing objectionable material and inducing young persons to commit indecent acts.
The charges against Rose relate to four girls aged between 3 and 14 at various locations including Palmerston North, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty over a five year period.
Her defence to most of the charges she faces is that she was compelled to participate under duress by her former partner Andrew Alan Williams.
The 54-year-old Williams pleaded guilty to 56 charges at the start of the trial last week.
These offences against 7 victims including eight of rape, along with a raft of charges for sexually violating young girls, indecently assaulting children under 12, making objectionable publications, possessing objectionable material and inducing young persons to commit indecent acts.
However, the Crown prosecution case is that Rose is far more involved in the sexual crimes of her former partner than she admits.
Last week, she pleaded guilty to nine charges of inducing an indecent act on a young person, and four charges of the same nature were withdrawn by the Crown.
Before she started giving evidence this morning, Rose pleaded guilty to a further charge of making a film showing the sexual exploitation of a young girl knowing the video was objectionable.
Rose was employed to exercise horses as a track rider and well known in the small circles of the Cambridge equestrian scene.
In giving evidence in her own defence, the 31-year-old Rose said she was born and bred in Dannevirke. She grew up riding horses all her life, and started working in the horse industry when she left school.
Rose was competing in showjumping and eventing competitions when she first met Andrew Williams, who was the uncle of one of her friends.
She was 19 at the time, Williams was 42. Within weeks, Williams had moved into her flat. A few months later, Williams leased another house on a block of land where Rose could keep her horses.
Moving to the rural property about 20 minutes from the Dannevirke township, had the effect of isolating Rose from her family and friends.
"He was very controlling. He controlled all the money, even the food."
This controlled extended to their sex life, Rose told the High Court at Hamilton where Justice Matthew Muir is presiding over the trial without a jury.
"He told me very early in the relationship, we would have sex when he wanted sex," said Rose.
"He would dress me up as a school girl, put me in pigtails and I would have to perform sex acts on him that I was not comfortable with."
Defence lawyer Philip Morgan, QC, asked Rose why she stayed with Williams.
"I did love him, I didn't want to hurt him."
While Williams could also be "incredibly caring" and charming, particularly after being violent, Rose said Williams would threaten to kill her, poison her family, and harm her animals.
"I believed him."
After a while, Williams and Rose moved to Auckland. Rose told the High Court that Williams continued to completely control her life, to the point that money she earned would be transferred into his bank account.
Rose said Williams pressured her to find women to engage in "threesome" sexual encounters, as well as showing her photos of naked teenage girls.
"I completely freaked out, I said that wasn't right."
Rose said she was so frightened of Williams' temper, that she agreed to hold a laptop or phone so Williams could see the photographs while having sex with her.
"I was scared to make him mad. I knew what happened when I didn't do what I was told," said Rose.
She will continue to give evidence today, before being cross-examined on her evidence by Anna Pollett, the Crown Solicitor for Tauranga.