A birthday nail party descended into a night involving methamphetamine, alcohol, and the abduction and torture of a teenager, the Crown’s star witness in the Dome Valley kidnapping trial says.
Jaclyn Keates has admitted and been sentenced for her role in the attack. On Friday she gave evidence of witnessing the alleged attack, including her memory of the complainant appearing “broken and helpless”.
Cameron Hakeke, Michelle Blom, Julie-Ann Torrance, Nicola Jones and Wayne Blackett have all denied various charges relating to two incidents where the Crown says a 19-year-old was kidnapped and subjected to various assaults.
The five are accused of varying roles in the two separate attacks, and Torrance and Jones have denied charges of attempted murder in relation to the final abduction where it’s alleged the complainant nearly died from a hammer attack.
Prosecutors allege the victim was also subjected to a vicious sexual assault, which they claim was master-minded by Jones following her suspicions the complainant, who can’t be named, had an affair with her boyfriend.
At the High Court at Auckland on Friday Keates told the court that she attended a birthday party for Blom’s flatmate Leesa Harris, at their Great North Rd, Kelston, property.
They were joined by Jones and Torrance and they all smoked methamphetamine before driving into Auckland city, she said.
“I was quite impaired from the amount of alcohol and drugs, and quite scared,” she said.
“I had an eerie feeling. I just didn’t feel very comfortable in the car.”
At some point during the evening they pulled onto a central city street where Jones got out of the car and returned with the complainant, pushing her into the car.
En route back to the Kelston address the women began assaulting the complainant, including Keates, who said she didn’t know why but she joined in with the assaults.
The women were abusing the complainant for being disloyal, she said.
On arrival at Kelston she said the complainant was forced into the boot, and she and Blom went to collect Blom’s boyfriend.
Keates claimed that on their return Blom went upstairs with her boyfriend, staying there the rest of the evening, and Keates went to the downstairs basement area to discover the complainant naked and crouching on the floor.
The woman’s hair was in pieces on the floor and Jones was holding a pair of scissors, Keates said.
“There was a lot of talking and yelling. Lots of arguing and abuse towards the victim, from all of us, because of her apparently stealing rings, and sleeping with Nicole’s boyfriend.
“(The complainant) just seemed broken and helpless. It was all of us against her.”
Keates said she left after Torrance forced her to sexually violate the complainant with a long plastic tube.
“I pulled away and that’s when I walked out of the room. I kind of freaked out and shut my eyes and looked away. I was disgusted about everything and I just wanted to leave.
“I didn’t want to be around that anymore…I just wanted to get out of there.”
Afterward she sat outside with Blom and her boyfriend having a cigarette, claiming Blom had “no idea” what was going on downstairs.
However later she received a text from Blom, allegedly in reference to the complainant, which said, “the dog needs baby sitting”.
Keates replied saying, “That ain’t no dog. That’s a gutter rat.”
Blom replied: “Love you. Glad you had a good night.”
Keates told the court she didn’t feel proud of what had happened.
So far jurors have heard from more than 20 of the 80 witnesses expected to give evidence.
The complainant is due to give evidence by audio visual link next week.
The defendants have denied the following:
Nicola Jones: Threatening to kill, sexual violation, attempted murder, injuring with intent, assault with a Taser
Julie-Ann Torrance: Injuring with intent, assault with a Taser, two counts of assault with scissors, assault with a cricket wicket, sexual violation, attempted murder
Cameron Hakeke: Kidnapping, stealing a car, assault with a Taser, assault with scissors
Michelle Blom: Injuring with intent, kidnapping, assault with a cricket wicket, assault with scissors, sexual violation
Wayne Blackett: Assault with a cricket wicket, assault with scissors, sexual violation.
A friend of a teenager who was allegedly abducted, tortured and nearly killed in two separate attacks wept in court as she described hearing her friend screaming in pain.
Savannah Bell gave evidence in the High Court at Auckland on Wednesday in the trial of five people in relation to the incidents.
The 19-year-old complainant’s bound body was discovered on the side of the road in Auckland’s Dome Valley in May last year.
The Crown alleges she was targeted by a former friend, Nicola Jones, who believed the complainant had an affair with her boyfriend.
Jones, along with Cameron Hakeke, Wayne Blackett, Julie-Ann Torrance, and Michelle Blom, are facing various charges including kidnapping, sexual violation, and assault with weapons.
Torrance and Jones have also denied attempted murder charges after they allegedly attacked the complainant with a hammer.
The Crown claims Jones orchestrated two attacks on her former friend, who can’t be named, including one where she was lured to a West Auckland home before having her hair cut off and being repeatedly Tasered.
The victim was allegedly dropped off at the Bombay Hills afterward, and warned not to come back to Auckland.
On Wednesday morning, Bell told the court she and another friend, Danielle Ferguson, had been with the complainant in April last year when the complainant received a text inviting her to pick up methamphetamine.
The three drove to Green Bay and Bell and the third friend waited in the car while the complainant went into the apartment.
Bell cried softly as she said that over the ensuing hour she could hear her friend screaming and yelling.
“She was screaming like she was in pain.”
Eventually a woman came downstairs and jumped in the complainant’s car, identifying herself to Bell and the other woman as “Nicki”, Bell said.
“She said, ‘who the f… are yous?’ She kept repeating it,” Bell said.
“She was saying it very angrily because she was literally just screaming at us.”
Bell said the woman began driving them back to Auckland city, leaving the complainant behind, and en route the woman allegedly told Bell that she had cut the complainant’s hair off and Tasered her.
“[She said] they were cutting her and other terrible things,” Bell said.
The woman allegedly told Bell that she was furious because the complainant had slept with her boyfriend, and that as a result she had lost custody of her children.
“I was scared, I didn’t know what to do.”
After the woman dropped the pair off at Karangahape Rd, Bell said “Nicki” kept items the complainant had left in the car, including her wallet and iPad.
“She gave us $50 out of [the complainant’s] wallet and told us to shut our mouths [and] don’t say anything about what they did to [the complainant].”
Bell said the next time she saw her friend, the alleged victim, she was back in Auckland but was wearing a wig to disguise herself.
During cross examination Nicola Jones’ defence lawyer Maria Pecotic put it to Bell that she was lying and had embellished her version of events.
Pecotic put to her that the trio had been at Green Bay for five minutes only, and queried why, if Bell had heard screaming, she hadn’t called the police.
The next woman to give evidence, Danielle Ferguson, who was also in the car, disputed Bell’s evidence of hearing screaming for an hour.
“I would have gapped it if I heard that,” she said.
She corroborated Bell’s evidence that Nicola Jones had made threats against them on the car ride back to the city.
“I can’t remember what she said to us, something along the lines of she was going to hurt us, and she was going to Taser us. She was angry. She was kind of yelling.
“I told her we were both pregnant and she seemed to calm down.”
Ferguson told the court she had met the complainant only briefly before that night, but she was “nice. A bit too nice. Friendly.”
The Crown claims that weeks later the complainant was abducted again and subjected to a day-long ordeal, ending with her suffering critical head injuries.
Prosecutors will call more than 80 witnesses over the next three weeks, including the complainant.
A pathologist says a woman who survived an alleged hammer attack was struck on the skull at least seven times.
Simon Stables told the High Court at Auckland that the teenager’s injuries were consistent with injuries he had seen in others who had died from them.
Stables was giving evidence for the Crown in its case against five people accused of the kidnapping, assault, sexual violation and attempted murder of a 19-year-old.
The teenager was allegedly beaten and dumped on the side of a dirt road in Auckland’s Dome Valley in May last year.
Earlier the court was told the complainant, who can’t be named, was “virtually sisters” with the woman accused of orchestrating the near-fatal attack on her.
The Crown claims the complainant was kidnapped twice and subjected to attacks where she was stripped, tied up, had her hair hacked off, was repeatedly Tasered, sexually violated, assaulted with various weapons, and had her finger stomped on until it broke.
Prosecutor Henry Steele has alleged the attacks arose because one of the defendants, Nicola Jones, suspected the victim was sleeping with her ex-boyfriend.
In the final alleged attack, Jones and co-accused Julie-Ann Torrance are alleged to have beaten the victim around the head with a hammer, giving rise to the attempted murder charges.
On Tuesday Stables, a forensic pathologist, presented a three-dimensional scan of the victim’s head, which showed multiple fractures to the woman’s skull.
There were at least five injuries present but Stables believed at least two of the injuries were caused by more than one blow.
He concluded the woman had been struck at least seven times and said the injuries were consistent with having been inflicted by a claw hammer.
The Crown has produced into evidence a hammer it says was used in the attack.
Stables said he couldn’t tell how much force was used in the alleged attack, but said “common sense” had to prevail.
Bone was “fairly hard” and required “a reasonable amount of force” to break, he said.
“It’s not a light blow…I have dealt with cases where these sorts of injuries have resulted in death.”
Evidence from the victim’s attending surgeon John Scotter was also read to the court.
He said the complainant had presented with a “severe, life-threatening brain injury”.
TEXTS MADE IN ‘HEAT OF MOMENT’
Text messages would be produced that showed Jones texted the complainant’s mother, telling her she was going to kill her daughter.
Jones’ lawyer Maria Pecotic said in her opening statement on Tuesday that the messages were not meant to be taken seriously.
“Look at what was going on in and around her life when the text was sent,” Pecotic said.
“These comments were made in the heat of the moment and were not intended to be taken seriously or intended to be acted on in any way.”
Graeme Newell, the lawyer for another co-accused, Cameron Hakeke, said the victim and Jones had been “virtually sisters”.
On Tuesday morning one of the complainant’s rescuers, who found her on the side of the road, gave evidence that her head looked like it had been “hacked”.
“It looked like [her head] was cracked. I could just see blood on the top of her head, through her hair,” he said.
The trial continues.