A woman who formed a
sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl, then fled with
her across the North Island as police began inquiries into
the crime, has been sentenced to prison.
Leeanna Marie Hodgetts, 39, pleaded guilty in the Napier
District Court on November 15 to two counts of sexual
connection with a young person aged 12-16 and one count of
She was sentenced yesterday to two years, six months in
Appearing for sentencing at the Napier District Court, her
defence lawyer Eric Forster said she was remorseful.
"She's accepting of her position and she's realistic about
the outcome," he said.
He said the conduct of the victim was relevant. However Judge
Geoff Rea disagreed, saying the law had been structured to
protect young people, who should not be preyed upon.
"Having read the victim-impact statement from her mother, the
effect on her from the relationship she had with you
[Hodgetts] is still ongoing and she still struggles in many
areas," the judge said.
"You have your own demons which need to be addressed and it
appears you saw the same concerns in the young complainant."
The relationship began in December 2011 and during the next
five months the two maintained a sexual relationship, and the
girl became infatuated with Hodgetts; to the point she would
lie about their relationship to her family.
By May, police had been notified of the situation and an
interview with Hodgetts was arranged for May 23.
But the day before the interview, Hodgetts dropped her
children off at school before texting the girl, telling her
she would collect her that day.
She had then sent a text to her mother, telling her she was
going to run with the girl because if she was going to go to
jail she might as well make it worth it.
The two headed to Tauranga where they spent roughly a week,
then visited Auckland.
During that time they pretended to be mother and daughter,
and the girl said she was 16. On May 31 they had taken a bus
to Palmerston North.
On June 4 the girl was found in Havelock North. Hodgetts
turned herself in at the Featherston Police Station the next
- Hawke's Bay Today