This story deals with sexual assault and can be triggering for some readers.
A man sexually assaulted his young stepdaughter twice a week for more than a year, and subjected her to vicious assaults with not only his hands but a hairbrush and cellphone charger.
At the start, aged 8, the attacks were physical - where she was struck with the hairbrush across her back and despite it breaking, he continued to hit her with the handle.
But the time she was 13, the 46-year-old would sneak into her bed once her mother had gone to sleep and sexually assault her. Later he would target her sister.
The sexual offending only stopped while the girl went to live with her father for four months in 2019.
However, it began again once she returned, happening once every two weeks.
Throughout the assaults, she cried - the Hamilton man told her it was all her fault and that "she was asking for it".
The man was jailed for four years and nine months in the Hamilton District Court this afternoon by Judge Denise Clark.
He was also granted name suppression after his counsel suggested that naming him could lead to the identity of the victims.
Still aged 13, she continued to be attacked. One night, after he'd returned home from a local tavern, he became angry with her after she broke a phone charger.
He struck her repeatedly in the stomach, back, arms and legs as she curled up in the foetal position to protect herself. He then kicked her and grabbed her by the throat before holding her up against a mirror in her room.
The victim's mother and sister both witnessed the incident but were powerless to intervene.
Dressed in just her nightclothes, the teen eventually managed to flee by running across town to a relative's house.
On another occasion he went into her bedroom wearing what she described as a "brunch coat", that was not tied around the middle.
He lay next to her and made her put his hand on his penis. She moved it only for him to try and move it back before she fled the room.
Around the same time, he then began targeting her sister who was four years younger.
She would sleep in her bed when she wasn't home. Multiple times, he walked in wearing his exposed "brunch coat" and lie with her in a tight "cuddle", pressing his body against hers.
The incidents would make her feel sick and she would try to leave - he would tell her to stay.
On one occasion, she got upset and he yelled at her, pushed her against a wall and struck her on the cheek with a closed fist.
When the main victim told her mother, the man would brush it off as "wrestling" or "tickling".
They eventually moved out in late 2020.
'She began self-harming, suffered anxiety'
The man's daughter, aged in her 20s, told the court how she took over the care of her two stepsisters, despite having two children of her own and despite not receiving any money from family or elsewhere for them to survive.
"I had nothing for them to start with ... beds, school uniforms, books .. which formed me to get into debt.
"The girls had to change schools which really upset [victim A] as she was doing really well at the other school.
"I was scared I was going to end up [looking after[ five children on my own."
The older sister didn't cope; she began self-harming, had anxiety being around people and struggled to open up.
When their stepfather was on the run from police, the younger victim stayed up late worried he would suddenly turn up.
The girls had since settled down but now everything had sunken in for her.
"I loved him at one stage. But I will never be able to look at him again."
Crown prosecutor Paige Noorland suggested a minimum period of imprisonment [MPI], sighting his attempt to shift blame for his offending in the pre-sentence report.
However, she accepted he had taken steps towards rehabilitation.
Counsel Martin Dillon said his client still had the support of his family; mother, two brothers, and a sister-in-law who were in court today.
The man had referred himself to SAFE prior to the prosecution beginning and undertaken multiple counselling sessions. Together with help from his mother, offered $15,000 emotional harm to the victims.
He also noted the Section 27 report which pointed to the nexus of his offending with that of his childhood, which saw him physically and later, sexually assaulted.
The man had earlier accepted a sentence indication in which Judge Denise Clark took an 11-year 9-month starting point, before reducing it to 9 years and four months for his guilty plea.
However, after further discounts for previous good character, remorse, rehabilitation, and reparation, she reduced that to four years and nine months.
She declined to hand down an MPI.
Sexual harm - Where to get help
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email email@example.com
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it's not your fault.