Strangler loses sentence appeal

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 07:56 06/03/2014

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A man who strangled a prostitute in a Blenheim hotel has had an appeal against his sentence dismissed.

Daniel Jeffrey Greathead, a 39-year-old farm worker from Blenheim, was sentenced to preventative detention and a minimum of five years in prison during a sitting of the High Court in Blenheim in August.

He had admitted a charge of wounding with intent to cause bodily harm after he attacked a 61-year-old sex worker last March.

The minimum five year sentence imposed by Justice David Collins meant it was not known when he would be released from prison.

Greathead appealed against the sentence on the grounds that a lengthy finite sentence should have been imposed with a minimum period of five years.

Greathead had already spent time in prison for similar offending. In 2005, he was sentenced to five-and-a-half years for aggravated wounding and burglary after he broke into a Nelson home, hid under a bed and strangled a 16-year-old girl for two minutes, until she bit his hand and he left through the bathroom window.

Following his early release from prison, Greathead was living in Dunedin and in 2009 he attacked a staff member at a rest home, strangling her and dragging her out of the office. At his sentencing in Blenheim, two psychologists concluded there was a risk that he would reoffend, while a further psychologist said Greathead's offending was linked to sexual gratification while he was intoxicated, and the attacks stemmed from resentment towards women.

His lawyer, Rob Harrison, appealed against the sentence at a hearing held in the Court of Appeal on February 18.

Mr Harrison said the risk to the community could be addressed by a lengthy finite term in prison. He said Greathead's violent offending did not begin until he was 30-years-old and happened over a relatively short period of time. The incidents were not as serious as some other cases where preventative detention was imposed, Mr Harrison said.

But lawyers for the Crown said the offending could have had fatal consequences on all three occasions. There were also "good reasons for scepticism about the prospect of long-term positive change".

In a decision released yesterday, the court dismissed the appeal and agreed the original sentence was the correct outcome.

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- The Marlborough Express

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