A Hawke's Bay man has admitted breaking a bone in his girlfriend's leg and abandoning her in a darkened cemetery while the couple were in Hawera for a tangi.

In the Napier District Court on Tuesday Matthew Courtney Fuller, 28, of Whirinaki, pleading guilty to three charges of injuring with intent to injure, which each carry a maximum penalty of five years' jail, and one of assault.

The woman's terror lasted as long as four hours from late at night to early in the morning.

Not wanting to stress the grieving family, the woman and Fuller told them and later hospital staff, that she had been assault by "typical" Hawera people.


The summary says the couple, each aged 27 at the time, had been in a relationship about a year when they went to a tangi for one of the woman's family on November 25-27 last year.

After drinking at a wake at a private address, Fuller drove the woman to a cemetery in Hawera. During an argument in the car he punched her in the face, ripping an earring from her earlobe.

The woman got out of the car but was struck in the back of the head and she blacked-out as she fell to the ground. Coming-to she noticed blood in her mouth and on her face, but Fuller assaulted her again, with punches, elbow-thrusts, kicks and then 6-7 stomps on her leg, fracturing the fibula in her left leg.

The summary said she thought she would die, as she struggled to escape, hindered by the pain in her leg, and being kicked again in the back and "backside" as Fuller demanded she stand up, and dragged her along the ground.

He back-handed her to the ground again, and was bashed again as she tried to speak, which only seemed to fuel his anger as he told her she didn't know how to keep her mouth shut.

He took her phone, left her alone the cemetery as she begged him to call an ambulance, and drove off. She climbed a fence to flee the scene and hid in the long grass.

When Fuller returned soon afterwards, she had to emerge from hiding because she was disoriented, didn't know where she was, and she wouldn't be able to help herself.

Fuller gave her phone back but continued to verbally abuse her as he told her if she didn't get into the car he would leave for Hawke's Bay without her.

After further abuse she managed to get him to stop the vehicle and she fled, but was found soon afterwards when Fuller became sympathetic and worried about the consequences of what he had done.

They returned to the family address, told family that the assault was the work of locals and then related the same story at hospital where the woman presented with the fracture to her leg, a cut to the back of her head, both eyes blackened, and bruises and abrasions across much of the rest of her body.

Fuller was remanded in continued custody for sentencing on December 14.