‘I now know it’s over’: victim tells court of violent abuse

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Six months after the violent end to their relationship, a victim stood in court and told the man who had isolated her from her friends and family "it’s over".

Peter John Stadnyk (52) had seemed like one of the good guys when she met him in 2019, the woman told the Dunedin District Court this week, but by the end of last year the "manipulative and controlling" man had stripped her of everything.

"It has affected every area of my life," she said.

However, at sentencing, she emphatically drew a line under the ordeal.

"I’m relieved because I now know it’s over and I want Peter to know this as well," she said.

Their relationship reached its bitter apex after a New Year’s party at the end of last year.

After an argument, Stadnyk and his then girlfriend left the gathering, but while the woman went back inside to retrieve her phone, the defendant drove home.

The victim’s keys and wallet were in the car’s glove box, the court heard.

After spending the night at a friend’s house, the woman went to her Dunedin home and called Stadnyk, requesting her keys so she could get inside.

When he arrived, the dispute from the previous night resumed.

The victim, who had been sitting in the car, opened the door to get out.

"Somewhat inexplicably," Judge Emma Smith said, Stadnyk’s reaction was to reach over and place his arm around her neck, forming an improvised choke hold.

"The defendant applied pressure causing the victim to struggle to breathe," a police summary said.

During the struggle, the victim grabbed the car keys from the ignition and when Stadnyk tried to wrestle them back, she bit his hand.

He then punched her several times in the back of the head.

Stadnyk got out of the vehicle, pulling his victim with him and threw her house keys on to the driveway before leaving the scene.

"Be under no illusion, you’re violent, you’re a coward; you punched someone in a prone position three times to the back of the head," the judge said.

The victim told the court she suffered bruising to her body, tenderness to her neck from the strangulation and a lump on the back of her head.

But it was the psychological trauma that endured, she said.

In her statement, she said Stadnyk kept her away from friends and family and had made her feel constantly nervous in her own home.

"I haven’t been able to work since the incident and have felt mentally drained," she said.

"I’ve had to leave town some weekends because I felt like I was being watched."

While counsel Chris Lynch said Stadnyk was remorseful for his actions, Judge Smith said the issue was "confusing".

The defendant had disagreed with some of the specific facts of the case and suggested to Probation he had only pleaded guilty to have the matter concluded, the court heard.

However, he had been regularly attending Stopping Violence counselling and was reportedly committed to continuing his treatment.

Stadnyk had a previous violence conviction from 2011 but the judge said it was part of a limited criminal history.

On charges of strangulation and assault in a family relationship, he was sentence to six months’ home detention and ordered to pay the victim $500.

A protection order was made in her favour.

 

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