Woman defies man caught creeping around her home

August 12, 2014 | By More
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A Northcote woman says she refuses to be “broken” by the man she accuses of stalking her at her home, as he begins a two-year five-month jail term.

Manuel Piniha Hayward says he was a burglar and his defence counsel Donald Matthews says the man denies there was any sexual motive behind the repeated visits to the woman’s property.

Hayward kept his head down and turned away today as a friend of the victim read her statement to the court about the havoc he had caused for the woman in her 40s, and her family.

She said: “How can one person have the right to cause so much anger, torment and suffering? I am sure your intentions were more than just to scare me. It would take more than someone like you to break me. You are not worth my time or energy.”

Christchurch District Court Judge John Strettell jailed Hayward and ordered him to pay $750 to the victim for emotional harm, in instalments after his release from prison. The 39-year-old is already supporting two children in the North Island and another family in Christchurch.

His record has 98 offences and convictions in the Youth Court and District Court, including dishonesty, violence, alcohol and drug offending, and breaches of court orders.

The victim wondered in her statement how was allowed to even stay in the community after committing so much crime.

She said afterwards she had been hoping for a longer sentence for Hayward on two charges of being unlawfully in her yard, burgling her property, and an unrelated charge of receiving a stolen cellphone.

She still feels unsafe and sleeps with the light on. Although he had been caught on security camera raiding her property over a four-month period – interfering with the cameras each time – she wondered if there had been earlier visits.

When the offending began, she had not moved anyone into the home with her and she had only gone away for one night. “I wasn’t going to allow him to take over my life,” she said. She had the cameras installed that eventually caught him.

Police had undertaken to let her know when he was being released and there was some hope that he might be moved to the North Island.

“I am thinking of selling the house,” she said. But she was also concerned that Hayward’s involvement in the Christchurch rebuild while he had such a serious record meant that people were not being properly checked.

“We are so desperate to get the city rebuilt, we are not taking care of the people who are here.”

Mr Matthews said Hayward’s painting business lost customers after the earthquakes and he had gradually moved back into dishonest offending because of financial pressure. He had gone to the property to check it for a burglary. He had entered a conservatory but had gone no further when he realised someone was home.

Judge Strettell said the real issue was the reckless invasion of the complainant’s life. “In itself, it is serious. It is aggravated by the fact that there is a pattern of recurrent offending against the same complainant.”

He said it was his experience that burglars stole things rather than making repeat visits.

Hayward was seen in the pre-sentence report as being a high risk of reoffending and causing harm to others. The judge agreed with the report’s conclusion that Hayward’s premeditated and repeated targeting of the victim had been “designed to terrorise and traumatise her”.

Detective Colin Baillie of the Christchurch police was present in court for the second recent sentencing where men alleged to be stalkers have got long jail terms. He said afterwards: “The tenacity and courage of our complainants to come forward enables us to do our job.”

Category: Focus

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