Decade in jail for repeated violence against women

File image. © Andrew Bardwell
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A 26-year-old with a history of violence against women has been jailed for 10 years 4 months for assaults involving binding, choking, stabbing and sexual violation.

After stabbing a woman in the leg with a large knife during an argument, Andrew Alistair Henderson forced her to tell ambulance officers that she had inflicted the 10cm gash on herself.

The woman did that. “She was fearful of what you would do if she told the truth,” said Judge Paul Kellar at Henderson’s Christchurch District Court sentencing.

He read Henderson a first strike warning that imposes heavier sentences on repeat violent offenders, before jailing him and imposing a five-year minimum term before he can be considered for parole.

Henderson has convictions in 2006 for assault, assaulting the police, and assaulting a woman. He has two convictions for assaulting women in 2010. His offending began at 18, and his previous record now includes a total of 11 assaults, and convictions for reckless and dishonest offending.

He is assessed as a high risk of reoffending, and a very high risk of causing harm to others. Probation lists his problems as drug dependency, a propensity for violence, and his attitude.

At the time of his most recent attack on a woman, he was on methadone, morphine, cannabis, and legal highs.

Henderson pleaded guilty to nine charges: a series of assaults on women, assault with a weapon, assault with intent to injure by throttling a woman twice, unlawfully detaining a woman by binding her, and threatening to kill. He was found guilty by a jury of wounding a woman with intent to cause grievous bodily harm – the stabbing – and sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. All were committed in Christchurch in 2012 and 2013.

Judge Kellar detailed the series of assaults before imposing sentence, including one assault where the victim was choked until she had difficulty breathing and began to lose feeling in her legs. He used an electrical tie to fasten her hands to the bed “so she could not leave the house and go to the police”.

The woman was left that way for hours before Henderson cut the tie.

In another attack, Henderson smashed the victim’s computer on the floor and then got a 30cm knife from the kitchen. When the woman shut herself in the bathroom, Henderson stabbed the knife right through the door five times at head height.

When he got into the bathroom, he held the knife against her throat and told her he was going to kill her. “You are not going anywhere. You know too much,” he told her, before stabbing her in the leg. He then got her codeine, applied a tourniquet, and told her to lie to the ambulance officers about inflicting the injury herself.

He penetrated a woman’s anus with his fingers, causing a tear which required hospital treatment. Defence counsel Andrew Bailey said that offence had occurred during sexual activity, but happened after the point when the woman withdrew consent for what was taking place.

Mr Bailey argued that there should be no minimum non-parole term because it would reduce Henderson’s incentive to go ahead with rehabilitation.

Crown prosecutor Deidre Orchard said the latest attack had been callous offending against a victim who was vulnerable because he was in a dominant position over her and she was no physical match for him.

Judge Kellar said it was accepted that Henderson’s violence was escalating in a pattern that began emerging in his mid-teens. Henderson explained that in one assault he had vented his anger arising from his anxiety and paranoia by strangling a woman.

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