Dunedin woman jailed after killing 29 lambs

Annabelle Wyant, 43, attempted to kill a gang member in 2015 when she 
Annabelle Wyant, 43, attempted to kill a gang member in 2015 when she shot him in the chest. In 2023 her drinking habit landed her in jail again, after she rammed into a flock of lambs, killing 29 of them. Photo: staff photographer
A Dunedin woman has been jailed for drunkenly ramming into a flock of lambs, killing 29 of them as a shepherd attempted to steer them away from a destructive cyclone.

Annabelle Wyant, 43, appeared in the Dunedin District Court this week before Judge David Robinson and was sentenced to two and a-half years’ imprisonment for eight driving charges, including her 12th drink-driving conviction.

Wyant was sentenced to jail in 2015 for the attempted murder of a gang member.

She had been drinking alcohol and using ecstasy throughout the day of the incident and after picking her children up from school, she took a pistol from her bedroom, loaded it and drove to the victim’s home.

When the man came out she shot him in the chest without warning.

Nine years later, her alcohol consumption has landed her in jail again.

Counsel Brian Kilkelly said his client had an "awful history of drinking and driving" but had been making an effort to quit.

"It’s obviously a gross understatement to say alcohol is at the core of this offending over a 25-year period," he said.

At 4.30pm on February 12, last year, a young shepherd and his dogs were desperately trying to shift a mob of lambs to higher ground as Cyclone Gabrielle ominously loomed.

Wyant was behind the wheel driving along Tauwhareparae Rd in Tolaga Bay with a breath alcohol level of 1032mcg — more than four times the legal limit.

She ploughed into the flock, crashing into the back of the shepherd’s quad-bike.

Twenty-nine lambs died.

Wyant was abusive not only to attending police, but to the young shepherds attempting to help her.

While on bail, on December 3, Wyant was witnessed driving erratically and weaving between lanes in Mosgiel.

Police noted she was belligerent and clearly inebriated.

Testing procedures showed Wyant’s state of intoxication was, again, more than four times the legal limit, with a blood alcohol level of 222mg.

Mr Kilkelly said his client felt terrible and her drinking habit had worsened after the cyclone destroyed her home.

"She was one of the victims who were particularly impacted, quite devastatingly," he said.

Judge Robinson voiced his reservations and said his primary obligation was to protect the community from Wyant.

He pointed to another drink-driving incident in December, 2022, when the woman told pursuing police, she "didn’t stop because she didn’t want to go to jail".

"Others are in danger. A lengthy term of imprisonment is warranted," Judge Robinson said.

When the judge granted the ODT’s photo application, the defendant aimed abuse at media representatives in court.

Wyant was disqualified indefinitely, ordered to pay $3997 reparation, $115 for blood analysis and her vehicles were forfeited.