Outbursts a ‘violent’ end to relationship

Darren Stedman. Photo: ODT file
Darren Stedman. Photo: ODT file
The drummer from a pioneering Dunedin band has been convicted over two rage-fuelled outbursts against his then-partner.

Darren Antony Stedman, a member of The Verlaines, pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional damage when he appeared in the Dunedin District Court last month.

While not part of the original line-up, the 50-year-old has spent several years in the band, which was central to the emergence of the seminal Dunedin Sound.

Though Stedman’s victim accepted the charges might seem trivial to some, she said the events that precipitated the end of their relationship had left her “devastated”.

“It was an exceptionally violent and traumatic end to the turbulent two and a-half-year relationship,” she said.

Stedman was at her home early on February 3 after they had spent the evening drinking together.

He became increasingly wound up as her phone continued to beep with a flurry of messages from a male friend.

The woman refused to block the person or dissuade them from contact, which prompted Stedman to lash out.

After unsuccessfully trying to unlock the phone, Stedman threw the device on to the bed and confronted his victim.

He ripped a light fitting off a wall and threw it across the room, causing the glass to smash.

Stedman left the home but his temper boiled over again less than a fortnight later.

He again argued with his then-partner about alleged infidelity, becoming progressively more “angry and agitated”.

Stedman threw a bowl of pesto into the lounge, leaving its contents on furniture and the carpet.

He left the house at the victim’s request but returned almost immediately to “stomp” the sauce into the carpet.

The victim said it was commercially cleaned twice before eventually being replaced.

At sentencing, rather than making an effusive apology, Stedman provided a letter to the court in which he claimed his ex-girlfriend had physically abused him, a matter he had not raised with the police.

Judge David Robinson said the note minimised the offending and “gives me concern that you do not accept the significance of your actions”.

Stedman was sentenced to a 12-month deferred sentence, an incentive to keep him away from the victim, the judge said.

Despite the defendant opposing the imposition of a protection order, Judge Robinson ruled that one was warranted in the circumstances.

“The man I once loved and had entrusted a key to my home with, has now burdened me with the heaviest of hearts, feeling great and constant anxiety and stress,” the victim said.

“Darren may have been able to move on neatly with his life. I have not.”




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