'Staunch for a white chick': Man blames partner for violent attack

James Tuwhangai (18) has been jailed for two years for a sustained attack on his partner. PHOTO:...
James Tuwhangai (18) has been jailed for two years for a sustained attack on his partner. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
A teenager who left his girlfriend with a fractured cheekbone and covered in bruises credited her as being "staunch for a white chick".

James Tuwhangai’s comments to a probation officer before sentencing were condemned by Judge Michael Turner.

"That’s offensive on various levels," he told the Dunedin District Court yesterday, before jailing the man for two years.

The 18-year-old, the judge said, showed no remorse.

He blamed the victim for the vicious beating he dealt her, claiming it would not have happened had she not continued the argument.

Tuwhangai referred to her as a "f... b..." during the interview, the court heard.

Counsel Meg Scally stressed the treatment her client had sought out and counselling he had undertaken since the January 26 incident.

Tuwhangai’s comments to Probation showed, though, that he had learnt nothing, Judge Turner said.

The defendant and his partner had been in a relationship for about six months when the violence took place, court documents said.

While the pair were at Tuwhangai’s Waitahuna home, he looked through the woman’s phone and saw a photo which he mistakenly believed was evidence she had an "intimate liaison" with another man.

Tuwhangai punched the victim a couple of times prompting her to flee.

When he caught her, the teenager threw his girlfriend’s phone to the ground and smashed it so she was unable to contact police.

Tuwhangai then smashed up the woman’s car before driving off, leaving her stranded at the rural location.

When he returned, he broke the steering wheel column, rendering the Mitsubishi undriveable, the court heard.

After again pursuing the victim, Tuwhangai grabbed her around the neck, dragged her to a bed and punched her in the face.

Following another brief chase, the defendant strangled the victim, lifting her almost off her feet as she struggled to breathe.

He was going to kill her, he said.

"Don’t kill my aunty," children at the property pleaded with Tuwhangai.

Another flurry of punches preceded the defendant packing the victim’s belongings and leaving them outside the house.

As she walked away, Tuwhangai got into a family member’s car and drove at her, causing her to take evasive action.

He stopped the car and threw his girlfriend’s bags over a fence, which he then leapt over.

The defendant opened the bag and strewed the property around the field.

No-one was going to save her, Tuwhangai said.

Still it was not over.

When the victim returned to the house, the defendant called her a "slut" and punched her twice more in the face.

Police arrived and the woman was taken to Dunedin Hospital where she was found to have a fractured cheekbone, concussion, a black eye and bruises around her neck and shoulders.

Judge Turner granted a protection order in favour of the woman, noting Tuwhangai still harboured animosity towards her.

Ms Scally indicated she would appeal the sentence and applied for bail pending a High Court hearing.

It was declined by the judge.




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