The victim of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her partner for almost a decade ''endured her own form of hell'' during the relationship, a Dunedin District Court judge said yesterday.
Wayne Anthony Jonathon Houpapa (31) was sentenced to 14 and a-half years' jail by Judge Michael Crosbie for a series of offences which included assault, rape, dangerous driving and abducting the pair's then 2-year-old son.
Houpapa pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual violation, four charges of assaulting a female, one charge of assault with intent to injure and three charges of breaching a protection order.
The offending occurred between November 2006 and July 2014.
He had initially pleaded not guilty to the rapes, but changed his plea after hearing evidence given by the victim during his trial in June.
He also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and abducting a young person after he took the pair's son from a daycare centre in July 2014.
Judge Crosbie said the victim suffered numerous injuries over an eight-year period, inflicted from kicks, punches to the head and strangling.
The vast majority of the violence took place in Lawrence, where the couple lived together for the longest time after their relationship began in 2006 and they had a child together.
The woman attempted on several occasions to end the relationship, but was met with violent and dangerous responses from Houpapa.
She also felt she could not leave the relationship once she became pregnant with the pair's first child, as she could not raise a child alone.
''Physical abuse became such a regular part of her life, she was unable to distinguish some occasions from others,'' the judge told Houpapa.
''She would often be sleeping on the couch to avoid being in the bedroom with you, as she was scared of you.
''One of the sobering aspects of this is the way she adapted herself to avoid beatings.''
Judge Crosbie hoped the ''brave'' actions of the woman in coming forward would encourage other victims of domestic abuse to speak out.
''It is my hope that she will not feel she has anything to be ashamed about. I believe that she has in no way played any part in your coming to be sentenced today.'' he told Houpapa.
In the first incident of rape, which occurred in a van at the time of Houpapa's niece's birthday, the woman said she was going to leave Houpapa, to which he replied she would never leave him.
''You pinned her down, ripped her pants off, violently raping her, and repeatedly punching her in the head during the rape.
''She was left traumatised, vomiting, dizzy and bruised.''
In the second incident, in Dunedin, the pair's young daughter entered the room after her mother yelled out to her to call the police.
The girl was told to leave the room as the woman was frightened of what her daughter would see.
Judge Crosbie told Houpapa his offending was not comparable to anything he had seen.
''Often, you hear analogies with books and movies and those sorts of things. But over a long period of time, largely while you were intoxicated or using substances, the victim endured her own form of hell.
''That is how it must be summarised.''
The abduction incident happened when Houpapa went to pick up his son from a daycare centre.
He bought a car seat, used a spare key to enter the family's house, took some spare clothes for the child, and identified himself as the boy's father at the daycare centre.
The centre called Houpapa's former partner, as staff did not recognise him.
He told her he only wanted to spend a few hours with his son, to which she reluctantly agreed, but he then drove off with no intention of returning.
He later phoned an associate and said he had ''stuffed up badly,'' the court heard.
Police located the vehicle in North Canterbury and Houpapa accelerated up to 170kmh as he attempted to flee.
The most serious of the protection order breaches, Judge Crosbie said, was when Houpapa turned up at the family's home after returning to Dunedin from Taumarunui the day before his trial in June.
Crown counsel Marie Grills said even though there was no violence, that breach was ''of the highest order'' because the woman was due to give evidence at Houpapa's trial on serious charges the next day.
Defence counsel Brian Kilkelly said Houpapa breached the order because he wanted to say goodbye to his former partner and children and acknowledge he was pleading guilty to the charges.
The realisation of what he had done did not sink in until he heard the statement directly from the woman, he said.
Mr Kilkelly said the relationship involved Houpapa's long history of cannabis use, consumption of alcohol, and his itinerant lifestyle based on work as a shearer.
''This is not an excuse, but it highlights the reality of the situation.''
He said Houpapa did not try to justify the long-term violence.
The defendant had expressed remorse and was approaching a lengthy sentence with a positive attitude.
''He has started a 15-week anti-violence course and is seeing a psychologist on a weekly basis.''
He was also determined to undertake the Kia Marama programme for sexual offenders, Mr Kilkelly said.