A former sex worker says she has vivid nightmares about being strangled after a client refused to stop choking her.

Marcelo Vanzuita, 47, pleaded guilty last month to indecent assault and assault with intent to injure for an incident in which he ignored the victim's safe word and squeezed her throat until she was dizzy.

He had been using the victim's services since 2016 in her private, Lower Hutt premises, after initially meeting her in a commercial brothel, Judge Peter Hobbs said in the Wellington District Court this morning.

The pair would arrange meetings via text, planning unprotected sex of various types.


On one occasion, Vanzuita placed his hand around the victim's throat during sex and began to lightly squeeze.

The victim asked him to stop and he did, and they then established ground rules, including the use of the safe word "red" if she wanted him to stop.

They operated successfully on this basis until August 17, last year.

On that day, Vanzuita walked into the room where he was meeting the victim and grabbed her by the throat with both hands, squeezing until the victim was unable to draw breath and started to go dizzy.

He pushed her against the wardrobe and continued to hold her by the neck.

The victim said the safe word, but Vanzuita continued to apply pressure periodically to her throat while he had sex with her, ignoring her when she told him to stop.

"The victim had on previous occasions allowed you to engage in rough or bondage, disciplinary type activity. That was allowed provided her wishes about the level of force were respected," Judge Hobbs said.

He said the boundaries were not respected in this case.


"The application of the force to the victim's throat occurred in circumstances that were indecent."

Judge Hobbs said such actions were "fraught with danger" and were "potentially lethal".

Vanzuita has no previous convictions of any kind.

After reading a pre-sentence report, Judge Hobbs said Vanzuita's "sense of entitlement" was the reason he was before the court.

"You undoubtedly need to modify your sense of entitlement and attitude towards this kind of activity."

Reading from her impact statement, the 28-year-old victim told the court she suffers from "vivid nightmares of being strangled", and often had panic attacks during intimacy.


She described being "constantly on edge, jumping at noises and seeing things out of the corner of my eye, thinking it's Mike".

The victim said she felt nervous while home alone, worried Vanzuita would turn up. She was regularly check the curtains were drawn and the doors were locked.

She is now on medication for anxiety.

"I think very lowly of myself . . . I often now feel that I'm useless and perhaps I deserved the treatment that I was given."

Judge Hobbs sentenced Vanzuita to six months of community detention with a curfew of 8pm-6am, 12 months of supervision, 150 hours of community work, and ordered an emotional harm reparation payment of $5000.