Girls robbed online dates

December 6, 2017 | By More

Girls aged 16 and 17 cried and wailed as they were jailed for kidnapping, robbing, and assaulting Christchurch men they met on dating websites.

The girls had pleaded guilty in the Youth Court jurisdiction – they were both charged there because one of them was under-age for the adult court – but the offending was so serious they were transferred to the Christchurch District Court for their sentencing today.

Drug addiction was involved in all the offending by Makayla Young, 16, also known as Hammersley, and Jessee Ann Booth, 17.

They had both admitted two armed robberies, kidnapping, theft, and assault with intent to rob. Young admitted an additional kidnap and robbery. Both have notations of offending in the Youth Court.

Young was met at 4.20am on March 25 by a man she contacted on a dating website. He picked her up and as they drove to Riccarton an unidentified man got into the car and told the victim to drive to New Brighton.

The man then told the victim to stop the car and pulled out a handgun which he pressed against the victim’s cheek hard enough to break the skin. The victim handed over his wallet and cellphone, worth a total of $1727, which have not been found.

On April 3, both girls were picked up by another online victim. Young punched him six or seven times in the face and told him to hand over $50. Booth was sitting in the back and hit him on the head and neck.

The man got someone to put $50 in his bank account and got them the money. They then told him to get more from an automatic teller, but his card was declined. They made him buy cigarettes and drink for them at a dairy, and threatened to kill him if he didn’t pay another $500.

Booth struck him with a screwdriver in the neck, arms, and legs, causing stab wounds. The victim thought he was going to die.

He ran from the car into a bottlestore where he told the staff member to lock the doors and call the police. Young and Booth tried unsuccessfully to get inside, but then drove off in his car.

The next day, the pair were in Strowan Road where they followed a young woman to the door of her house, made her give them $10, and then marched her to a service station to make her get money with an eft-pos transaction. They left when a customer confronted them.

They both met another online victim on April 6. They made him drive around the city but he ran away from the car at a red light after he had been shown a “shiny object” and threatened with being stabbed.

Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger said a report showed Young had been struggling with the use of synthetic drugs, methamphetamine, and alcohol, and she had now described meth as “evil”. The report said the causes of the offending were drug use and the propensity for violence that went with it.

Booth’s defence counsel, Tim Mackenzie, said he had witnessed a change in her since her arrest. The arrest had ended the “nightmare” of her previous life.

She had now given birth to a child and was in Christchurch Women’s Prison’s mothers and babies unit. She realised this was the best place for her and did not intend to seek parole when it was due, so she could spend the full two years with her child in the unit.

Judge Paul Kellar said it was very serious offending. It was premeditated, weapons had been involved, and there was actual violence. The victims had been profoundly affected and a lot of the property taken had never been recovered.

He gave both girls what he called “generous” reductions for their young ages and their guilty pleas, and jailed Young for five years and Booth for four years. Suppression of name for Young was refused.

Both girls were crying in the dock, and wailing could be heard as they were taken to the cells.

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Category: Focus

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