Pitchfork threat in ‘cowardly’ assault

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

After holding a pitchfork under a woman’s jaw, Trevor Bradley Mackie held her by the throat and said: “I could kill you if I want.”

In the course of the long assault, the 21-year-old Burnham joinery apprentice threatened, punched, slapped, choked, kneed, kicked, and stomped on the woman, and dragged her by the hair.

Christchurch District Court Judge Tony Couch noted that Mackie did all this “because she did not want to have sex with you”.

The woman received a cut to her hand, concussion, swelling to the back of her head, swelling to her jaw, abrasions on her back, injuries to her left foot and both arms, and strains to her pelvic area and neck muscles.

Mackie was jailed for two years six months for the December 16 incident, after he admitted charges of assault with intent to injure, assault with a weapon, threatening to kill, and indecent assault.

He had removed the woman’s clothing during the assault.

Judge Couch described it as “extreme violence” and issued Mackie with a first strike warning that imposes harsher sentences on repeat violent offenders.

He added to Mackie’s sentence because of his 2017 convictions for assaulting and threatening another woman.

Defence counsel Clayton Williams said Mackie took full responsibility. His client had said: “I have deep remorse for the victim of my cowardly assault.” Since he was taken into custody seven months ago, he had referred himself  to the Perpetrator Outreach Programme and done 13 sessions, as well as other counselling.

Mackie had been keen to meet the victim at a restorative justice conference, but it had not been arranged. He asked for a home detention sentence to be considered, but was realistic in accepting that prison was likely.

Judge Couch said the incident happened after Mackie had become drunk at a work function and had been taken to his home.

He said the woman had been a vulnerable victim. “She had gone to your home trusting that you would treat her decently, but it is hard to imagine a more gross breach of trust.”

During the assault, Mackie became enraged when he believed she was calling the police. He kicked her phone, breaking it, and then picked up a pitchfork which he held under her jaw.

When he heard sirens he dropped the pitchfork and threw the woman into the driver’s seat of the car where he held her by the throat, saying: “I could kill you if I want.”

Judge Couch said: “It was a threat accompanied by the immediate ability to carry it out.”

He accepted that Mackie had some remorse, but he believed his insight into his offending was still limited.

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