A man who dragged an Auckland jogger into bushes before strangling and sexually assaulting her has been sent to prison.
Avin Ivory Lock appeared in the Auckland District Court today after pleading guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual violation.
Despite Lock already having a lengthy criminal history, Judge Russell Collins was the first judge to send him to prison and also imposed a minimum period of imprisonment to protect the public.
Judge Collins also declined the Herald's application to photograph Lock for public safety and rehabilitation reasons.
Police arrested the 33-year-old after a female jogger was attacked in the early hours of May 11.
The woman was running about 5am on a track alongside Auckland's Northern Motorway.
As she ran towards the city, Lock pushed her and dragged her into bushes near St Marys Rd.
Her face was pinned to the ground as Lock strangled her and began sexually assaulting her, the court heard.
She pleaded with him not to kill her - he replied that if she stayed silent he wouldn't.
Fortunately, a passing cyclist saw Lock and heard the woman's screams before coming to her aid - courageously chasing away her attacker.
Lock fled and was last seen jumping over a fence and running in the direction of Swift Ave and Hackett St, through the rear of several properties.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard earlier said the victim and cyclist immediately went to the Auckland Central Police Station to report the attack.
Victim: 'I have not felt safe since the incident'
The woman's victim impact statement was read to the court today.
The PhD student said she suffered a concussion and nerve damage from the attack - and still suffers flashbacks, headaches, nausea and difficulty sleeping.
"The activity I loved of running in the place I was attacked and harmed is no longer an enjoyful experience," she said.
"I have not felt safe since the incident, I love Auckland yet my husband and I will most likely move as a result of this incident."
The victim, who now sees a therapist weekly, said she has been forced to take time off work and her studies, while a post-study grant is now also in jeopardy.
The emotional, financial and physical harm may be long lasting, she added.
She said the St Marys Bay community has also been affected by the attack with residents concerned about their safety.
Police released CCTV footage of the offender in the area shortly before the incident.
It shows Lock wearing a dark hoodie and a cap.
Detective Senior Sergeant Glenn Baldwin said at the time the offender was in Beaumont St, opposite Victoria Park, prior to the incident.
"This was a random attack by a stranger," he said.
Baldwin said after Lock's arrest a significant amount of resources went into the investigation to solve the "repugnant attack".
He was arrested after a DNA match, the court heard.
Lock's lawyer, Adam Holland, said his client was socially isolated and endured a rough upbringing.
On the night of the attack he was homeless, under the influence of meth and had been robbed, the court heard.
Lock faced other charges for being unlawfully on property and for offensive behaviour.
He pleaded guilty to being unlawfully on property while the other charge was dismissed.
Just days before the attack on the jogger, Lock was caught creeping about a St Marys apartment block.
When closing her curtains, a resident noticed Lock behind her garden shed and believed his conduct was furtive.
She opened her curtain and challenged Lock who said his name was Andrew and was waiting for a mate called Chris.
The woman told Lock to stay where he was but he replied: "No need to come down unless you wanted to take me out for a drink."
As the woman attempted to take photos of Lock he turned his face away and fled.
Lock has 41 previous convictions, 18 for burglary, which has resulted in 16 sentences from 2002 to 2017.
Judge Collins was the first judge to send Lock to prison.
"Some may leap to the superficial conclusion that it is a failure of the system, but that would be an error in logic," he said.
It could be said previous sentences did not deter further offending, the judge continued, but also questioned whether available resources could realistically be expected to achieve deterrence.
"It isn't for the criminal justice system to cure a whole myriad of problems," Judge Collins said.
He said Lock faced several hurdles before his case would be deemed appropriate for parole.
Judge Collins said a minimum period of imprisonment was needed to protect the public.
A pre-sentence report also said Lock had a high-risk of reoffending.
He will serve at least two years and seven months of his four years and three month sentence.
After Lock was sentenced, police released a statement written by his victim to the Herald.
"I am grateful for the Auckland Police and for their intense effort to find the stranger who attacked me," she wrote.
"Additionally, I am grateful that the bicyclist came along at the right time and heard me."
She said what happened to her was horrible, yet added the deeper societal issue was domestic violence.
"I do not know if my experience of sexual assault and its aftermath and recovery can help those individuals and their communities.
"I urge anyone who witnesses or experiences a sexual assault to not remain silent and suffer."