By MONIQUE DEVEREUX
Gary Maui Isherwood had been out of jail for less than three weeks when he hooked up with fellow former inmate Andrew Hartley for a night on the town in Christchurch.
They began at Hartley's New Brighton house where he flatted with Anna, an 18-year-old model.
Isherwood - who had served four years in jail - was immediately infatuated.
She was beautiful and young, but Anna (not her real name) was no angel. She was a recreational drug user and was not averse to "experimenting".
But 24 hours later she would tell the police of her horrific evening with Isherwood, 26, and Hartley, 30, when she was kidnapped, injected with drugs and repeatedly raped and sodomised.
On Friday night a jury found Isherwood and Hartley guilty of 20 counts of abduction, rape, sodomy and administering a Class B drug.
Hartley will be jailed for at least seven years. Isherwood - the younger of the pair but clearly the ringleader - is being considered for preventive detention, a sentence reserved for the worst sex and violent offenders over the age of 21 which has no determined release date.
To be eligible, a criminal must be a repeat offender, usually guilty of sex crimes, or a first-time rapist who leaves a judge convinced he will commit a specified crime on release.
Isherwood is eligible because Anna was not the first attractive young woman to fall victim to his sinister behaviour.
In 1999 he was jailed for eight years after forcing a 14-year-old girl to take heroin, making her an addict, and then forcing her into prostitution to pay him for her drug supply.
He also admitted having sex with her.
Last week's High Court jury was not told this, but the case came close to being jeopardised when information about that conviction was released by New Zealand First law and order spokesman Ron Mark.
His press release, titled "Pimp rapes while on parole", made a fleeting appearance on the party's website and on to a news website for at least an hour.
Once he got word of the press release Justice Lester Chisholm moved quickly to ensure the information it carried would not reach the jury.
He released a press statement of his own placing an embargo over publication of Mr Mark's release and in chambers expressed his annoyance to the prosecution and defence counsel.
"It was the first time I'd ever heard him swear," Isherwood's lawyer, Stan Barker, said later.
Isherwood was just 21 when he was arrested in 1999 for running the prostitution racket, making the 14-year-old work on the city's central Manchester St and Latimer Square.
He was known to police and had already spent years living on the fringe of various Christchurch gangs.
But he was never fully accepted by any of them. When the coverage of his arrest called him a Road Knights affiliate one media organisation was sent a letter on a Road Knights' letter-head denying Isherwood had anything to do with the gang.
He was a skinhead and a "boot boy" and when he got out of prison last year he reverted to type - black clothes, shaved head, boots and tattooed arms on display.
It was this man whom Anna met at her boyfriend's house last July 15, not the clean-cut, well-dressed, tidy young man she faced in court last week.
That night Isherwood repeatedly told her she should be with him instead of her boyfriend and that he would kidnap her if he had to. He also said she was beautiful enough to make lots of money working on the streets.
The leering suggestions and Isherwood's fawning over her made her uncomfortable enough to tell her boyfriend.
An argument developed and Isherwood and Hartley left the house.
But they later returned and Anna avoided them for as long as she could.
After that she told her boyfriend she was going to get some money out of a nearby ATM but noticed Isherwood and Hartley following her.
They invited her into a nearby bar for a drink. She accepted, saying she was doing so only as an opportunity make it clear to Isherwood she was not interested in him.
After several drinks - two of which Anna believed were spiked so she made herself vomit them up - the trio went to a central-city motel with a bottle of sparking wine.
It was here Isherwood injected Anna with morphine and Ritalin before the two men forced her to give them oral sex, raped her in turn and Isherwood sodomised her.
During last week's trial Isherwood and Hartley's lawyers claimed the woman had consented to the night's activities and that she only cried rape because her boyfriend dumped her when she told him where she had spent the night.
As the case drew to a close some of the jury watched Isherwood and Hartley as they became increasingly annoyed in court.
Whenever they stood for the judge to arrive they would raise their middle fingers behind their backs, for the benefit of the police officers sitting in the public gallery.
In the last hour of Justice Chisholm's summing up on Friday the gestures became more animated - Hartley turned to the police officers and simulated a punch and Isherwood drew a finger across his throat and mouthed "you're dead, pig".
A class of Christchurch journalism students observing the case and sitting between Isherwood and the police officers were upset by his actions, when in between gestures he would turn and make eye contact and lick his lips suggestively.
One woman sitting less than 1m from Isherwood was so distressed she left the court and did not return.
Security was tight. Three guards watched everyone who entered the court room.
As the jury deliberated, five friends of the accused hovered in the court building and were closely watched or told to move on by police.
The jury was reassured the security was normal procedure.
Jurors retired for just six hours before declaring both men guilty on all counts. Both will be sentenced on April 21.
The pair left the court for the last time with another performance - Isherwood pointed at the police officers and said "thank you all very much" before clapping slowly.
Hartley clicked his fingers and danced a short jig on his way out of the dock.
* Former skinhead Gary Isherwood and Andrew Hartley found guilty of 20 counts of abduction, rape, sodomy and administering a Class B drug.
* The pair kidnapped Hartley's 18-year-old flatmate and injected her with morphine and Ritalin. She was then repeatedly raped and Isherwood sodomised her.
* Isherwood had just finished serving four years in jail after he forced a 14-year-old girl to take heroin, then made her become a prostitute to pay him for drugs.
* Hartley is likely to receive at least seven years in jail and Isherwood is a candidate for preventive detention.
By MONIQUE DEVEREUX