"I miss my girl desperately and not one day goes by that I don't shed a tear."
That's how heartbroken father Darren Wagstaff, 48, described the impact of losing his 17-year-old daughter Halayna in a car crash in 2018 shortly after she was assaulted and kidnapped by her boyfriend Jason Whero Anaru-Emery.
Anaru-Emery, 19, from Maketū was found guilty of charges of male assaults female and kidnapping by a jury in the Hamilton High Court in February this year.
The jury found that he had assaulted his partner during an afternoon of drinking and smoking cannabis at his home in Paengaroa on July 21, 2018.
Later that same day he grabbed his victim off the roadside in Jellicoe St, Te Puke and dragged her across the road and into a vehicle, and shortly after the car crashed into the Waiari Bridge and ended up down a bank.
Darren Wagstaff read his victim impact statement to his daughter's kidnapper in Rotorua High Court yesterday via an audiovisual link from Christchurch.
Halayna was a "ray of sunshine", he said.
"She was always there for her sisters and brothers, and she was a rock to me," he said.
Wagstaff said he would have loved to be able to walk Halayna down the aisle one day
but that opportunity had been stolen from him.
"She would have made a fabulous mother and a fabulous wife," he said.
"I miss my girl desperately and not one day goes by that I don't shed a tear.
"Life without my little girl is just not the same. It's like I'm numb, and I feel that even more than ever today," he said.
Halayna's younger sister Zeta Wagstaff, 18, who also read her victim impact statement to the court said she would "carry the scars" of what happened that day with her forever.
Zeta, who was 16 at the time, said she would never forget going to identify her sister and that memory had replayed in her mind daily.
"I cry every day for Halayna. She was my best friend. To me, she was my everything."
The court heard that Halayna, who died at the scene, was pregnant.
A manslaughter charge was dismissed by Justice Sarah Katz at the end of the Crown's case on the basis that the ESR evidence could not conclusively establish who was driving.
Yesterday Anaru-Emery also pleaded guilty to a representative charge of male assaults female which related to other acts of violence against Halayna between 2016 and 2018.
This included punches, slaps, and bites, the court heard.
Crown solicitor Anna Pollett submitted that a sentence starting point for the kidnapping and assaults should be four years and three months.
She said there was not only actual violence but also threats of physical violence.
Pollett said the victim was clearly vulnerable given the disparity in her size compared to Anaru-Emery who overpowered her and dragged her to into the car under duress.
She said the Crown accepted a discount for Anaru-Emery's youth was appropriate.
Anaru-Emery's lawyer Rob Stevens argued the starting point for the kidnapping charge should be two years prison given the detention of Wagstaff was only "fleeting".
Stevens said a six months uplift for the two assault charges was also appropriate and a significant discount for his client's youth and his expression of remorse.
He said it was clear that his client needed grief and trauma counselling, he said.
Justice Katz said she accepted that Anaru-Emery had a troubled background which "very likely" contributed to him frequently resorting to violence to enforce his will on his victim.
But Justice Katz told Anaru-Emery that his offending had been a serious breach of trust, particularly as he knew his victim was in the early stage of her pregnancy.
"It was clear Halayna did not want to be in the car and if you had not assaulted her and dragged her into the car, more than likely she would have been alive today," she said.
Justice Katz sentenced Anaru-Emery to 22 months prison, after taking into account the aggravating factors, his guilty plea and his youth at the time.
She said it was obvious he was suffering trauma from the loss of his unborn child and partner, and the best way to honour her memory was by "being the best man she would have wanted you to be".