The man who kidnapped baby Kahu Durie last month, in hopes of getting her parents to pay a $3 million ransom, has been sentenced to eleven years in prison.

Terence Ward Traynor, aged 54, had pleaded guilty to the five charges related to the kidnapping. He will serve the sentences concurrently, meaning he faces a maximum of eleven years in custody.

The crown, in an unsuccessful request that the sentences be served consecutively, told the court that Traynor had a long prison record. He had undertaken intensive planning of the kidnapping over a period of time and had left baby Kahu unattended on several occasions.

Judge Craig Thompson said there were mitigating factors to be considered, including the fact that Traynor had cared for the child.


"But a cynic might say that it was in your own interests to do that."

The judge also made the point that baby Kahu had been left alone for periods of time in Traynor's Taumarunui house.

Another mitigating factor was Traynor's frankness with police once apprehended, and his early guilty plea.

The early guilty plea allowed baby Kahu's family to go about their business without a trial hanging over them, he said.

Kahurautete (Kahu) Durie is the adopted daughter of high profile Wellington lawyer Donna Hall and her husband, High Court judge Eddie Durie.

The baby - aged 8 months at the time - was taken at gunpoint as she was pushed in her pram by her mother and her two nieces along a quiet Lower Hutt street on Saturday April 13.

Police rescued her from a Taumarunui house eight days later on Sunday April 21.

They arrested Traynor, an unemployed spray-painter, at the house a short time later.


A $3 million ransom was sought for Kahu's return, but this was not revealed until after she was safely returned to her Lower Hutt home.

Traynor pleaded guilty on April 26 in the Lower Hutt District Court to five charges related to the abduction of baby Kahu.

In addition to carrying off Baby Kahu, Traynor was charged with rendering her mother, Donna Hall, incapable of resistance, two counts of threatening to kill Ms Hall's two nieces, and one of use of a pistol in committing a crime.

In the summary of facts read to the court it was heard that Donna Hall, and not her adopted daughter Kahu, was Traynor's original kidnap target.

Traynor chose Ms Hall from a newspaper rich list and got her address from the electoral roll.

Traynor began planning to kidnap someone high profile for ransom in 1998 when he stole registration plates from a car in Auckland.


He bought the house in Taumraunui and renovated it to improve soundproofing and to make escape more difficult.

In March this year, he changed his focus to Kahu believing it would be too hard to kidnap Ms Hall.

Traynor made regular visits to Lower Hutt between January and April to watch the family's movements.

Traynor waited at a campground in Lower Hutt for three hours after the kidnapping in order to avoid possible police road blocks. He then drove to Taumarunui.

Baby Kahu's family were not in court for the sentencing.