Charge downgraded over mallet attack death

A woman who was charged with killing a man after hitting him in the head with a mallet has pleaded to a lesser charge.

Natalie Ann Reader - also known as Natalie van Breugel - had been charged with the manslaughter of Lance Bain.

But this morning in the High Court at Auckland, the Crown filed a new charge of wounding with intent to injure.

Van Breugel, 45, pleaded guilty to that charge and will be sentenced in March next year.

Justice Sarah Katz ordered a pre-sentence report which will look at the possibility of home detention and continued van Breugel's bail over the Christmas period.

Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of life in prison while the charge van Breugel pleaded to carries a maximum sentence of seven years.

Mr Bain, 43, died more than two weeks after the alleged assault in the west Auckland suburb of Ranui on November 17.

The former high-flying businessman had spent five days in hospital.

He didn't immediately seek medical help and is understood to have developed blood poisoning as a result of his injuries.

Police have previously said van Breugel hit him "numerous times" with a mallet.

They had also previously charged van Breugel with threatening to kill but that charge has since been dropped.

Police launched their investigation on behalf of the Coroner, who requested they review the assault and "culmination of events" that led to Mr Bain's death.

It is understood van Breugel and Mr Bain were in a relationship.


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