Husband’s assault ‘destroyed family’

May 15, 2017 | By More

A wife said her husband’s attack with a piece of wood destroyed her whole family, and left her with scars for the rest of her life.

In the Christchurch District Court, Lealofi Setu, 40, was sentenced to five years’ prison for charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, contravening protection orders, and aggravated burglary.

His wife read her victim impact statement to the court, and said she didn’t know why she was attacked, and now lived in fear. She was scared to be alone, and slept with the light on, repeatedly checking the locks on the doors. She said she looked at the scars, and felt pain and hurt.

On May 2016 Setu broke into his wife’s home when she was asleep and struck her repeatedly in the head with a piece of wood, until her children intervened.

Crown prosecutor Chris Lange said Setu disguised himself with a hoodie, and some of the blows landed on the woman’s arms.

Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton QC said Setu had good references from family and church associates. He was well regarded and had a strong bond with his family.

Setu’s pre-sentence report said he was a low risk of re-offending, was genuinely remorseful, and wanted to attend a restorative justice meeting with his family.

Judge Raoul Neave said the marriage broke-up, but Setu’s proprietorial attitude led to the domestic violence, and his perverted desire to maintain a grip on family life, which was slipping away, led him to destroy the family far more.

The effects on children who witness extreme abuse between parents were long lasting, he said.

Judge Neave said the offending was premeditated. Setu had gone armed and disguised, and intended to inflict harm. The injuries were serious, and caused disfigurement, and long lasting emotional effects.

The wood used was capable of doing considerable damage, and the attack was to the head.

It was a home invasion, where Setu’s wife was in bed and entitled to feel safe, and she was vulnerable with no opportunity to defend herself, or seek assistance, he said.

Judge Neave said Setu was exercising power and control in a domestic relationship, and had a proprietorial attitude to his former partner, which was unacceptable, and could not be tolerated.

It happened while she had a protection order against him, and caused significant emotional distress, he said.

He sentenced Setu to five years’ prison.

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