The woman who abducted her 2-year-old granddaughter from
the Otago Farmers Market last month was given a sentence of 12
months' intensive supervision when she appeared in the Dunedin
District Court yesterday.
Yvonne Annelie Skeet (47), sickness beneficiary, of Mosgiel,
took the child - who was in the care of her grandfather -
from the farmers market on February 2. She later pleaded
guilty to a charge of abduction.
The child was in the care of Child, Youth and Family, her
grandfather being her caregiver and having a guardianship
order in his favour.
Skeet, the grandfather's former wife, was named on the CYF
access order as to have no contact with the child. On the day
she was abducted, the child was at the farmers market with
her grandfather, who was operating a stall there.
After approaching the child earlier in the day, Skeet
returned to the market just after noon and took the child
away in her car. A police operation launched to find Skeet
and the child ended just after 11am the next day when, after
a call from a member of the public, the pair were found at a
South Dunedin address.
Sentencing Skeet, Judge Stephen O'Driscoll said the ''clearly
pre-meditated'' abduction was in ''flagrant disregard'' of
the order for her not to contact the child.
Judge O'Driscoll said he had read the grandfather's victim
impact statement, and he and his partner were
''understandably devastated to find out what had occurred''.
The abduction left him with feelings of guilt and fearing
what might happen to his granddaughter. He told his partner
the incident was ''every parent or guardian's worst
Mitigating factors were that Skeet had pleaded guilty, the
child was not harmed and the abduction was short-lived, Judge
O'Driscoll said, pointing out that this was not due to Skeet
handing herself in.
He agreed with a psychiatric report which said the abduction
was an act of ''desperation'', born out of Skeet's longing to
see her granddaughter.
Conditions of the 12 months' supervision are that she is to
undergo both a Community Alcohol and Drug Service assessment
and an assessment by a probation officer and comply with any
counselling recommended. Judge O'Driscoll would also receive
reports on her progress and, if she failed to comply with the
conditions or reoffended, he had the option of resentencing
her. If she reoffended, she would most likely be given a
He told Skeet he hoped the involvement of police in the
abduction, her time in custody and the media coverage of her
court appearances had ''brought home the seriousness of what
you have done''.
Defence counsel Anne Stevens said earlier that, in the long
term, Skeet wanted to have supervised and ''perhaps
unsupervised'' access to her granddaughter.
''She misses her dearly,'' Mrs Stevens said.
She made the point that Skeet did not try to conceal the
abduction - even mentioning to another stall holder at the
market that she was the girl's grandmother - and that it was
not disputed that the girl was ''well looked after'' in the
time she was in Skeet's care.
Both Mrs Stevens and crown counsel Richard Smith said they
supported a sentence of intensive supervision.