A Karamea woman charged with kidnapping and resisting arrest allegedly locked her former husband in a shipping container, a Greymouth District Court jury heard yesterday.

Edith Cynthia Sargent, 61, denies the charges, whereas Crown prosecutor Aja Trinder told the jury it was a "fairly simple case" about a marriage that had "deteriorated to the point that the defendant ended up locking her husband in a shipping container".

By mid-2014, the marriage had broken down to the point where the husband was living in a shipping container on the property, while Sargent stayed in a caravan.

The Crown alleges that about 7.30pm on October 8, 2014, Sargant watched her husband enter the container and then locked the door behind him. Typical of shipping containers, it could not be unlocked from the inside.


Sargent did not reopen the container until 8.30am the next morning, despite being asked numerous times by her husband to let him out. While he was locked inside, he was harangued with a barrage of swearing and abuse.

Sargent also banged a large rock, or something that sounded like a large rock, on the side of the container.

When the complainant reported the incident to the police, and a constable went to the property with an order for Sargent to leave, she tried to avoid arrest by lying down on her bed and pushing her feet into the constable's stomach, Ms Trinder said.

Defence lawyer Michael Vesty urged the jury to remember that it took "two to tango" when it came to the failure of a relationship.

He said Sargent accepted that she had locked her husband in the shipping container, but denied keeping him in there overnight.

Sargent had kept the door locked "long enough to suppress the threat that he posed that evening" to her.

"He was shut in the shipping container because of things that happened prior to that evening," Mr Vesty said.

The relationship between the couple was "punctuated by the power and control" the husband had over her, which had included a "host of threats".

Mr Vesty said it would be for the Crown to prove that Sargent did not act in self-defence.

The trial is expected to wrap up this afternoon.

- Greymouth Star