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A woman traumatised in a home invasion thought she was going to die and scratched her attacker to get his DNA on her hands so people would know who had killed her.
Reading her victim impact statement in the Queenstown District Court on Monday, the Greymouth woman described her terror when she awoke to see George Robert Tweedy (60), a former army major, pointing a rifle at her face.
A short time later, after he had stopped her from escaping, he put a belt around her neck and applied pressure.
‘‘I honestly thought I was going to die on the floor of my own home.’’
She scratched his ankle to get his DNA on her hands so people would know who had killed her.
Besides her physical injuries, which included bruising, strangulation marks, and a broken toe for which she still needed crutches, the incident had caused severe and lasting mental trauma.
She suffered from nightmares, anxiety and severe post-traumatic stress disorder, and was terrified by the prospect of his release from prison.
The offending began at 10.27pm on May 10, when Tweedy went to the victim’s home armed with what turned out to be a replica M16 military-style semi-automatic rifle.
A protection order had been in place against him since January 15.
More than two hours after the break-in, she managed to calm him down sufficiently that he allowed her to make him a cup of tea and a sandwich.
When he went to the toilet, she raised the alarm by messaging a friend.
While armed police were on their way to the house, Tweedy left and drove to Cromwell, where he was arrested.
In July, he admitted charges of aggravated burglary, physically abusing a protected person and strangulation.
After serving for 27 years in the British Army and 15 with the New Zealand Defence Force, he retired from the military late last year.
Counsel Michael Walker said Tweedy was genuinely remorseful.
Judge Russell Walker said a psychiatrist’s report concluded the defendant had experienced ‘‘significant trauma’’ during his military career.
However, he had inflicted similar trauma on the victim.
After deductions including for Tweedy’s guilty pleas and expressions of remorse, Judge Walker came to a term of 23 months’ prison.
That was converted to 12 months’ home detention at a Waitati property to allow rehabilitative treatment.
He must pay the victim $2500 emotional harm reparation, and is subject to 12 months’ special conditions after release.