Plucky 13-year-old girl stood up to attacker

December 6, 2017 | By More


A plucky 13-year-old Whanganui girl intervened when her family was under threat, but ended up having her hair pulled and her head banged against a kitchen counter by a 50-year-old attacker.

Crown prosecutor Sean Mallett said the girl had swelling and pain to the head for two-and-a-half weeks after the July 14, 2015, incident and felt unsafe in her home.

He said the Crown would accept a sentence of home detention for Mana Blackburn, 50, who had admitted charges of assault, assaulting a child, and possession of an offensive weapon – a hatchet.

But Mr Mallett also said the pre-sentence report assessed Blackburn as a medium risk of reoffending and causing harm to others, and said he showed no remorse for his actions.

The court was not told what the confrontation that began on the streets of Whanganui was all about.

Defence counsel Raukawa Simon said Blackburn, who lives in Christchurch, was a father of two with a third child due in seven months. He had left school at 14 and had been employed on labouring work. He was willing to have a restorative justice meeting with the family involved in his offending. She acknowledged he had two previous assault convictions.

The Whanganui case had been transferred to the Christchurch District Court where Judge Paul Kellar imposed the sentence.

The incident began at a shopping centre about 7.20pm, when Blackburn and others pulled up near the other group – a mother, boys aged 13 and 14, her pregnant friend, and her 13-year-old daughter who was inside a shop.

A member of Blackburn’s group got into an argument with the mother and her friend. The mother stepped in to prevent her pregnant friend being assaulted. There was pushing and shoving, and the mother was punched.

Blackburn got out of the car and asked the boys if they wanted to fight. When one of them said, “We are just kids,” he smiled and walked away.

The 13-year-old girl came out of the shop, saw her mother being assaulted and shouted at the group. Blackburn tried punching one of the boys but he deflected the blows. The boys jumped on his back, got him in a headlock, and took him to the ground.

When a member of the public intervened, Blackburn continued punching the 13-year-old. He then got a 50cm hatchet from the car, and told the victims he knew where they lived.

Half an hour later, Blackburn and others turned up at their house, shouting for them to come out and fight. They kicked and damaged the front door, and then got inside.

Blackburn pushed the mother into a wall and went into a front room where there were several children.

The 13-year-old girl – with great presence of mind, according to Judge Kellar – yelled at him to get out of the house.

Blackburn threatened to smash her.

She said, “Go ahead.”

Blackburn grabbed her by the hair, dragged her into the kitchen and banged her head against the counter.

The group then left.

Judge Kellar said it was premeditated offending involving unlawful entry into someone’s home.

He noted that Blackburn had previous convictions for violence and had already completed an anger management Stopping Violence programme.

He said a home detention term “just meets the sentencing objectives” and sentenced Blackburn to seven months’ home detention at a Christchurch address. He will have to attend treatment or counselling as directed during the sentence and for six months afterwards.



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