Woman guilty of threatening neighbour with pineapple-sized rock

A Greymouth woman who threatened her neighbour with a rock the size of a pineapple on Christmas Eve has been convicted in the Greymouth District Court.

Belinda Simkin denied charges of disorderly behaviour and behaving threateningly. The disorder charge was dismissed after police said it did not meet the threshold, but she was found guilty on the threatening charge.

According to police, Simkin went to her neighbour's house in High Street and approached the complainant Nicole Mudu carrying a rock. She then returned home and smashed the rock through the front door window of her own home.

Witness Maleli Mudu, husband of the complainant, said he was outside playing cricket with his son when a family friend came along with their grandchildren. He called out to his wife to come and talk to them. His wife and friend were chatting when Simkin came along.

"She got out of a car and was carrying a bottle. She also picked up a rock and was carrying it towards my wife," Mr Mudu said.

He said Simkin told his wife she was going to hit her with the rock and he interjected telling her not to speak to his wife like that.

Simkin was mumbling because she was "drunk," Mr Mudu said.

"She was wobbly and fell down once."

Mr Mudu said he had never spoken to Simkin before.

He made a statement to the police about the incident when they arrived at the scene and indicated to the court that the rock was about the size of a pineapple.

Cross-examined, he denied that Simkin went over to tell them she was going to use the rock to smash the window of her door because she had misplaced her house keys.

"Simkin said she was going to hit my wife," Mr Mudu said.

Defence lawyer Megan Boyd said Mr Mudu had not told that to the police.

Mr Mudu said he had never dealt with the police before in his life.

After Simkin smashed the window she told Mrs Mudu she would be next, he told the court.

"I told her to go away and that she should not be near my family."

Ms Boyd suggested that Mr Mudu did not know what Simkin meant when she was saying what she was going to do with the rock, and he agreed she could be right.

"Sometimes it is difficult for you with English and you misunderstood what Simkin said," Ms Boyd suggested.

However, Mr Mudu said what he had told the court about Simkin's threat was true.

Nicole Mudu told the court that Simkin came towards her with a rock and started yelling.

"She said I've had some personal issues and you are going to pay. This made me scared and my husband asked her to leave."

Mrs Mudu said she believed Simkin had been drinking or was "high".

"Simkin said to me she was going to say I smashed her door window. I rang the police and they arrived about 10 minutes later."

The rock was a decent size and Simkin was holding it up to her face.

"I had no idea what Simkin was talking about. I was terrified. Her behaviour was not normal and I was worried for the safety of myself and my children. I feared what she could do."

Cross-examined, she disagreed that the rock had been held around waist height.

Lawyer Ms Boyd said it had not happened as Mrs Mudu had claimed.

"Why would I make it up?" Mrs Mudu answered.

In giving evidence, Simkin said it was a big misunderstanding. She had returned from a walk when she realised she had locked her keys inside the house.

She said she picked up a rock to smash the window on the door and went to her neighbours to explain what she was doing and ask them not to call the police.

She admitted she had consumed five or six RTDs in the morning, and felt "merry".

"It was Christmas and I didn't expect to be arrested and put in the cells on Christmas Eve."

Simkin said she spoke with Mrs Mudu the next day because she was unsure what had happened.

To police prosecutor Stewart Sluis, Simkin said she was surprised with what happened.

"You threatened Mrs Mudu and there is nothing to indicate what she would make it up," Mr Sluis said.

"All I can say is that it is a total misunderstanding," Simkin said.

However, Judge Brian Callaghan said he accepted the evidence of Mr and Mrs Mudu and he had "no doubt" that Simkin had intended to frighten the complainant.

Simkin was convicted and sentenced to nine months' supervision and ordered to undertaken counselling and or treatment for alcohol and drug issues.

 - Court reporter






Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter