Jason King was looking for a way to fund his next meth fix when he spotted a woman sitting in her vehicle on the side of road. What followed was a violent carjacking that saw the victim attacked with a tyre iron.
King, 33, was fresh out of jail and in the throes of a three-day crime spree when he drove through South Taranaki and saw the woman in her ute, described as her "prized possession" for which she had paid $11,000.
She was checking her cellphone when King pulled up beside her and asked if she had a tyre iron he could borrow, claiming he had a flat tyre.
After she loaned King her iron and a jack, he went off to his car to make a pretense of changing his tyre, New Plymouth District Court heard on Friday.
Meanwhile, the woman waited in her vehicle but began to grow suspicious of King - and with good reason because shortly after he approached the ute and swung the tyre iron at her head.
The woman quickly reacted, leaning forward and raising her arm to protect herself, meaning the tool struck her forearm and her hand.
But King didn't stop there. He swung the tool at her a further two times before a struggle over the door ensued.
He tried to open it while the woman worked to keep it shut but eventually, King was able to pull it open and as he did, she jumped out.
King then drove off in the woman's ute, which was later found abandoned and had to be written off due to meth contamination.
The March 2, 2021, carjacking took place in the course of a crime spree that King had kicked off the previous day.
It began with him stealing a car from another woman in Taranaki after telling her he would put petrol in the vehicle for her and then never returning it.
He went on to steal that petrol from Z in Stratford and then the following day he stole about $500 worth of items from the Ōpunake Four Square, petrol from BP in Eltham, and then committed the carjacking.
The following day, on March 3, 2021, he stole petrol from the Oily Rag Garage in Piopio and then from Z in Te Awamutu.
In court, Judge Noel Sainsbury identified the aggravated robbery as the lead offence.
He said it was a mixture of luck and the woman's quick reactions that stopped the injuries sustained in the tyre iron attack from being much worse.
The incident has had a "terrible effect" on her, the judge said.
"For someone who was good enough to help a person who needed assistance on the side of the road, she is now wary of other people."
As for King, it was just a matter of acquiring a car as something he could sell so he could buy methamphetamine, the judge said.
"Without a thought for her."
King, who has a criminal history that includes serious violence, was on release conditions at the time of the crime spree, having been released from jail less than a fortnight prior.
Rather than making a change with his newfound freedom, he had gone back to a pattern of serious offending, Judge Sainsbury said.
While King had a "supportive and positive" upbringing, from his early teens his interest in school began to wane and he eventually moved into crime.
His addiction to methamphetamine has played a "huge" role in his offending, the judge said.
But King has recently expressed a desire to kick the habit and leave behind his life of crime.
"This is early days, it's a positive indication. The proof's going to be in what you do about it," the judge said.
After considering the aggravating and mitigating factors in the case, Judge Sainsbury landed on an end sentence of five years' imprisonment on all matters.
But before concluding the sentencing, he implored King to change his ways and warned if he didn't, he would spend most of his life in prison and would continue to harm others.
"I prefer to see neither of those things happen."