Enraged after a domestic argument with her partner, a Kawerau woman made the fatal decision to drive off while her boyfriend clung to the bonnet of her car.
Vanessa Te Hau Tanawhea was sentenced by Justice Ailsa Duffy in the High Court at Tauranga on Friday after pleading guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death.
According to the summary of facts, the incident sprang from a domestic dispute in Kawerau on the morning of December 30, 2020.
About 7am, Tanawhea and her then-partner, Simon Littlefair, became involved in an argument at his property.
Frustrated and angry, Tanawhea attempted to leave the property in her car. Littlefair, not wanting her to leave, then climbed onto the bonnet of the vehicle.
Tanawhea then drove "at speed" down Newall St, however remained within the signposted speed limit.
While travelling down the street, Littlefair was thrown from the vehicle near the intersection with Whittaker St, landing on his head.
There were no witnesses to the incident, and it's not known whether Littlefair fell or jumped from the moving car, the court was told.
Despite knowing her partner had fallen from the vehicle, Tanawhea continued driving towards her home.
Littlefair was discovered by a member of the public minutes after being thrown from the vehicle and emergency services quickly responded.
The force of the fall fractured Littlefair's skull and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Tanawhea later admitted to the police that she had been driving the vehicle when Littlefair fell to the road but said he had pushed himself from the vehicle, a view she continues to maintain.
She was charged with dangerous driving causing death, later pleading guilty.
Reading a victim impact statement on behalf Littlefair's two adult daughters, Crown prosecutor Ben Smith shared their grief over the loss of their father.
"Not only did you take my dad's life away, you took a piece of mine," one daughter said.
Littlefair's former partner, who was one of the first on the scene of the "reckless" incident, said the memory of that day would never leave her.
"You not only took his life, you took away a father, grandfather and my partner. He dreamed of walking both his daughters down the aisle one day."
During the sentencing hearing, Justice Duffy said some culpability lay with Littlefair himself, for making the decision to place himself on top of the vehicle.
"Whilst it was wrong of you to keep driving, I recognise that he had chosen to place himself there to stop you from leaving him and going to your home," Justice Duffy said.
The judge also accepted Tanawhea's claim that due to the nature of the argument, she was worried what would happen to her if she did stop the vehicle.
"I accept you panicked, were afraid, emotionally upset, and angry. All you wanted to do was to go home to your children. You feared for your safety that day."
That comment caused Tanawhea to begin crying, as family members on the other side of the courtroom attempted to console her visually.
Justice Duffy began with a sentence starting point of three years' imprisonment - fewer than Crown prosecutor Ben Smith's submission of three years and nine months' imprisonment.
Tanawhea was granted a 20 per cent sentence discount for her early guilty plea, as well as four additional 5 per cent discounts for remorse, good character, cultural circumstances, and the potential for rehabilitation.
After discounts, the remaining sentence was 21 months' imprisonment, which allowed Justice Duffy to consider the possibility of home detention.
The judge considered that Tanawhea's risk to the public was minimal, and also took into account her custody of her three children.
"I'm satisfied that circumstances support a sentence of home detention. A sentence of home detention is not a soft option."
Justice Duffy eventually sentenced Tanawhea to a period of 11 months' home detention and disqualified her from driving for a period of two years.