A young man was behaving "entirely out of character" when he
"lost the plot" and pointed a crossbow at his former partner
after discovering she had been in a relationship with one of
his friends, a Dunedin judge said yesterday.
Philip Richard Bennington, 24, threatened to kill the young
woman if she called the police and told her he would "hunt
her and rip her to pieces" if she gave evidence against him.
And, while pointing the crossbow at her from a distance of
about 1m, he asked her what damage she thought he could do
with the weapon.
Bennington was before Judge Stephen Coyle in the Dunedin
District Court for sentence on charges of threatening to
kill, unlawfully possessing an offensive weapon and wilfully
damaging a wall.
He punched a hole in a wall during the incident early last
Public defender Andrew Dawson told the judge the defendant
acknowledged to police he had "lost the plot" when he behaved
as he did.
The large number of references all assessed Bennington as a
person of integrity, with a good work ethic who had been
totally honest about the offending.
Judge Coyle said it was "quite clear" to him, the defendant's
reaction, when finding out his partner had been involved with
somebody else, was "entirely out of character" and that
Bennington was not someone who had a problem with violence or
who normally behaved badly towards women.
"But it was an act of violence," the judge said.
The young woman would not have known the crossbow was not
loaded and, given the threats just made to her, she would
have been very frightened.
But he accepted the appropriate sentence was community work
and, on each charge, sentenced Bennington to concurrent terms
of 100 hours.