Man finally convicted, sentenced for assault on girlfriend

In October 2015, David James Foo Curtain was due to go to trial on the West Coast on domestic-violence charges.

He did not turn up.

More than two and a-half years later, the 27-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court, where he pleaded guilty to intimidation, wilful damage and assaulting a female.

The incident from which the charges stemmed happened more than four years ago, Judge Kevin Phillips noted at sentencing this week.

Curtain was living with his 18-year-old girlfriend on a dairy farm, where they worked, an hour from Reefton.

They had been drinking with friends when the defendant began to accuse his then partner of sleeping with someone else.

Curtain lost control.

He began smashing bottles on the floor, threw food around the property and punched holes in walls and doors.

The victim was so scared she hid in the bedroom.

After waiting for some time she left her refuge, thinking her boyfriend had left the house.

He had not.

Curtain chased her into the bedroom telling her he was going to kill her before gripping her around the throat and applying pressure.

"You caused her to believe she was going to die," the judge said.

The defendant finished the attack by punching the teenager in the face, the court heard.

Left with a bloodied nose, swollen forehead and a bruised neck, the victim just wanted to leave the isolated home.

But the only person able to help her was a friend who drove from Nelson to pick her up.

Judge Phillips said Curtain had been on medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder which had become ineffective.

While police had been unable to find the victim, there was a statement on the court file taken after the assault.

"David was the first person I fell in love with and I'm struggling to come to terms with how to deal with it," the woman wrote.

Counsel Noel Rayner said his client was now living in Dunedin with a new partner and was looking for work.

The defendant's criminal record was short and relatively insignificant, Mr Rayner submitted.

Judge Phillips sentenced Curtain to four months' community detention, 260 hours' community work, six months' supervision and ordered him to pay the victim $500.

The man still had more than $9000 of outstanding fines, the court heard.


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