A young woman who took part in a frenzied home invasion is the inevitable product of chronic abuse and gang-related depravity, a judge says.
But Shaynee Manuel, 24, was offered a lifeline when sentenced at the High Court in Auckland for her role in the violent 2019 Onehunga burglary.
The court on Tuesday heard one of the five victims had since moved overseas and another two moved house.
All suffered financial and emotional harm after the home invasion, Justice Simon Moore said.
Manuel, another woman and an unknown man entered the home in the early hours of Friday August 23.
Five people were asleep in their beds.
The male burglar, known as X, grabbed a knife from a drawer and hit one resident multiple times.
The three intruders rifled through residents' possessions, filling a suitcase with stolen goods as X continued menacing the victims.
"He threatened to smash them and cut off their ears," Justice Moore said.
The trio left but returned to steal more.
Manuel and her female accomplice put shirts over the victims' heads.
"Whatever way you look at it, this would have been a terrifying experience," the judge said.
In one bedroom, the thieves made off with a television set and X struck two people on the head three or four times.
The female accomplice took the knife from X and demanded to know where gold and watches were kept.
A bottle of milk was tipped over a tenant's head as the degrading ordeal continued.
The fifth occupant, hearing commotion, put a table beside his bedroom door to keep the intruders out.
Justice Moore said the residents had laptops, wallets, and clothing stolen.
"They lost a lot, and they weren't wealthy people."
One of the tenants was Amritpal Singh.
Shortly after the home invasion, Singh told the Herald an intruder had asked: "Who wants to die first?"
Singh was slashed in the face when the male intruder burst into his room with a knife.
"They were already getting the stuff out and scaring my friends," Singh said in 2019.
"They came in my room and they cut my head with the knife, near the right eye."
Manuel was on bail at the time and had previously been in court for burglary and dishonesty offences.
Justice Moore said Manuel was raised in a profoundly abusive environment and had a child at age 13.
"Unsurprisingly, that child was taken from you and placed in care," the judge said.
Manuel used glue and butane as a child, graduating to cannabis and methamphetamine abuse by her early teenage years at the latest.
Justice Moore said Manuel's father was jailed for meth offences and her mum had been in and out of jail. Both parents used meth with her, the judge added.
Chronic abuse and violence characterised Manuel's upbringing and the court heard she was introduced to gang influences at an early age.
Manuel's upbringing made her criminal acts "an inevitability", Justice Moore said.
"It's causative and the law requires me to give you a reduction on that account."
The court heard Manuel had engaged in restorative justice and apologised for invading the victims' privacy.
"The fact that you had the courage to front up and say sorry must count for something," the judge said.
He was satisfied Manuel's remorse went beyond expressions of apology.
Manuel received discounts for pleading guilty to aggravated burglary, for remorse, for rehabilitation prospects, for her youth, and for social and cultural factors.
She was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.
The court heard Manuel had been offered a placement in a drug addiction treatment programme.
"It seems that this is the first time you've been thrown a lifeline. Grab hold of it," Justice Moore told Manuel.
Manuel, standing in the dock, nodded.
The judge added: "Make the most of this one-off opportunity."