Woman led three teens to vicious attack

A Dunedin woman who took a trio of teenagers to commit a vicious late-night attack has been jailed for more than two years.

Hayley Valerie Solheim (36) previously pleaded guilty to injuring with intent to injure and was sentenced at the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

At 11.30pm on September 19, the defendant took the troupe of teens to the home of the 46-year-old victim.

Judge Michael Crosbie said it was unclear what fuelled the violence that followed.

Solheim, who had been drinking, knocked on the woman's door.

When she answered it, the defendant pulled the woman to the ground by the hair.

Solheim held her there as two of the others laid into the victim with punches while she covered her head to protect herself. A third teen stood back, yelling abuse.

The group followed up the attack with kicks to the woman's face and ribs before leaving.

The victim suffered a black eye, bruised jaw and cheek, along with various grazes.

She was concerned her 10-year-old son was at the address when the attack happened and he had been ''shaken'' as a result.

In the weeks afterwards, the victim shunned school events she was scheduled to attend and was too scared to walk around the South Dunedin shops in case she met one of her assailants.

A month after the assault she was still experiencing dizzy spells, the judge noted.

Spoken to by police, Solheim acknowledged being at the scene of the crime but blamed the violence on one of the teens.

''To take three young people to someone's home at 11.30 at night and for whatever reason to exact some sort of revenge on them is appalling in so many respects; appalling because it just sends completely the wrong signal to those young people,'' Judge Crosbie said.

''As the only adult, I can only regard you in all circumstances as the principal offender.''

Solheim had support from her mother, who had cared for her four youngest children.

While the defendant had disengaged from her role as a parent due to ''lifestyle choices'', the court heard she was now taking a more active role in her children's lives.

Solheim was sentenced to two years, two months' imprisonment and a sentence of intensive supervision she was serving for previous offending was cancelled.

After she was led away, her partner walked into the body of the court and said he wanted to go down into the cells to see her.

''Don't be silly,'' the judge told the man as he was confronted by Corrections officers. ''I understand you're upset but you can't go down there.''

He was eventually persuaded to leave the courtroom.

The three teenagers involved faced proceedings in the Youth Court.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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