Strangling of prostitute admitted

A Blenheim man strangled, beat and choked a 61-year-old sex worker, telling her "you die, you die" during an attack in March.

Daniel Jeffrey Greathead, a 38-year-old Riversdale farm worker, appeared in the Blenheim District Court yesterday and admitted a charge of wounding the woman with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on March 8.

A charge of attempted murder was withdrawn.

Greathead was remanded in custody to reappear on June 25.

Judge Chris Tuohy said Greathead had two earlier convictions for violent offending, and said the Crown was considering asking for him to be sentenced to preventive detention.

Greathead did not enter a plea on a charge of assaulting a man with intent to escape the crime.

Prosecutor Mark O'Donaghue said Greathead met the woman at a Blenheim motel in High St and paid for her services. However, at one point he grabbed her by the neck and began strangling her.

When Greathead let go she shouted out "help me, help me" and he shoved his hand in her mouth and pinched her nose so she could not breath, Mr O'Donaghue said.

He punched her in the face, smothered her with a pillow and attempted to choke her again by putting his hand in her mouth and holding her nose, he said.

The woman eventually struggled on to the floor where he sat over her and punched her several times in the head and torso telling her "you die, you die", he said.

The woman pleaded with him and finally escaped into the bathroom and tried to climb out the window, Mr O'Donaghue said.

He dragged her back but she offered him his money back and while he was counting it she managed to run away wearing a towel, he said.

Greathead also escaped, but was brought back to the motel by members of the public. Greathead told police he did not know why he did it and he "just snapped", Mr O'Donaghue said.

Judge Tuohy said Greathead had been convicted in 2005 of aggravated wounding and burglary and sent to prison for four years, and he was convicted in 2010 for aggravated assault and burglary and sentenced to prison for three years.

Because of his violent history, the Crown was considering asking for Greathead to be sentenced to preventive detention. That would mean he would spend a minimum of five years in prison and be imprisoned until he could prove he was not a threat to the community.

Judge Tuohy ordered a pre-sentence report to be prepared to address whether preventive detention could be an appropriate sentence and remanded Greathead to reappear on June 25 for that to be considered.

According to reports at the time, Greathead's convictions in 2004 and 2010 were also for strangling women in Golden Bay and Dunedin.

According to the Nelson Mail, in the 2005 incident Greathead strangled a teenage holiday maker for about a minute before running away. Greathead, who lived near the girl's holiday house, hid under a bunk in her bedroom and attacked her. The Otago Daily Times reported that in the Dunedin incident in 2010 Greathead broke into a rest home and grabbed a rest-home caregiver from behind.

The Marlborough Express