Mother jailed for failing daughter
November 2013 saw big business buying Manawatu and Horowhenua success stories, a moggie mauled by a marauding canine, and a Trade Me purchase ending in a visit from the bomb disposal squad.
In what was believed to be a New Zealand first, a Palmerston North mother was sent to prison for failing to protect her daughter from child abuse. Judith Noeline Annette Burnett, 34, was sentenced to two years and one month in jail for failing to protect a child from the risk of sexual assault. The mother of four soon found out the man she had moved in with had been convicted of sexual assault and attempted rape.
She signed a safety plan, promising to never leave her daughter alone with the man. But she did, even though the daughter said the man had made her touch him inappropriately. Judge Barbara Morris said prison was the only suitable sentence.
Dogs on killing spree
Pensioner Olive Saunders lost her companion of 14 years when a pair of dogs on a killing spree in Feilding mauled her cat. Mrs Saunders' pet, Mishka, was taken by the throat by one of the dogs that had claimed five known victims in northern Feilding.
Mishka was born on the first day of the millennium and Mrs Saunders had two photo albums dedicated to the cat. "I just don't know how I'm going to get on without her," Mrs Saunders said.
Still a danger to community
Ewen Macdonald was told he would spend at least another year behind bars, after his bid for parole was denied. An inmate at Rolleston Prison, Macdonald was questioned by the Parole Board about his offending, his state of mind and his plans on the outside. He had planned to go to a Christchurch property but the board was not satisfied he posed no undue risk to the community. Before the hearing, Anna Guy said she wanted her estranged husband to serve all of his five-year sentence. He was found not guilty of murdering Scott Guy but was jailed for arson, vandalism and killing animals.
Man shot in Highbury A 50-year-old was taken to Palmerston North Hospital, after being shot when he tackled a man pointing a gun at his father's head. The victim's father said he went outside his Duncan Place house when he saw a man pouring something over his son's car. He then came face to face with a man pointing a gun. His son tackled the gunman and then father and son ran back inside but the son was shot in the leg on the way.
Police caught up with the gunman weeks later in Auckland.
Firebugs run riot
Students let off more smoke than steam at the end of exams, with a spate of couch fires across Palmerston North. On one night, seven fires were lit and six people were arrested. One fire burned so hot it melted a hole in the road. Manawatu fire assistant area commander Rodger Calder said cancelling an annual furniture collection had contributed to an increase in couch fires. Plans were in the works to prevent the same thing happening again, with more rubbish collections and personal visits to flats and landlords on the cards.
Big business comes knocking
Two business success stories were transferred to foreign ownership, with Rural Fuel and Verusco Technology being sold to multinational companies. Rural Fuel, founded in 1998 by Horowhenua couple Larry and Jane Ellison, was sold to petroleum giant BP. BP said it would retain all 70 staff and the main office would remain in Palmerston North in the immediate future.
Rugby statistics compiling business Verusco, founded by the late former Palmerston North city councillor George Serrallach in 2000, was sold to English business Prozone.
Prozone mainly compiles football statistics for leagues across the globe, which is ironic as Dr Serrallach initially wanted Verusco to be a football-based business.
Bomb of a night
Barry Gill was shaking his head after a Trade Me purchase and mail order from England ended up with the bomb squad going through his house. Mr Gill was called by police after they were told by St John that his house had a potential explosive in it. The device in question was a rocket-propelled grenade from England. Mr Gill, a collector of World War II items, said he purchased it via Trade Me. "When we bought it, it was deactivated - that was a big part because it was brought over from England." He described the incident as "a few hundred dollars down the toilet".