Witness tells of being groped by intruder

One of the teenage victims indecently assaulted by an intruder who broke into the Picton house of her best friend has told how she was scared and hid under the bed clothes while he groped her thigh.

Penisimani Taakimoeaka, 26, of Blenheim, is accused of breaking into the house where the two 16-year-old girls were staying and sexually assaulting them.

The unemployed man has pleaded not guilty to assault with intent to commit rape, three counts of indecent assault and one of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.

On the second day of the trial at Blenheim District Court, the second victim said she and her friend had returned to the house early on March 31 last year after a night out at a 16th birthday party.

She told the court her friend left the bed they had been sharing in the middle of the night.

"It was weird . . . all the bed clothes got ripped off the bed. I didn't hear her walk out. I thought she was angry at me that the blankets were ripped off."

She assumed her friend had gone to the toilet and said she was gone for around one minute. "The next thing she flew into the bed. When I asked where was she, there was no response. I saw this dark figure. He just stood in the middle of the room, just staring. I kept saying ‘who is that'. I hid under the blankets."

The victim said she could feel the accused sit on the bed. "I could feel his hands were everywhere," she said. "Every time he touched her [the friend] she would move." She told the court the accused groped her thigh over the top of the blanket.

She said her friend leapt out of the bed and when she turned on the light, the man held his hands up and said ‘You know me' and listed family members of the one of the girl's families.

"In the room when the lights were on he came right up to her. She grabbed him and he stumbled, she was clawing at his face."

Under cross-examination from defence lawyer Rob Harrison she admitted she had received a text after the attack from the first victim in reference to writing similar police statements together.

She denied defence accusations that she had told friends the first victim had asked her to alter the length of time Taakimoeaka had been in the house and denied she had changed her statement on her direction.

The godfather of one of the victims, who had been staying at the house at the time of the attack, said he had been lying in bed with his wife when he heard a vehicle pull up the driveway and footsteps on the gravel.

After he heard raised voices and a male voice coming from the girls' bedroom he jumped out of bed to find the accused standing near the doorway of the girls' bedroom.

The man pushed Taakimoeaka down the hall and wrestled him to the kitchen and out the back door while his wife phoned police. Taakimoeaka managed to get away and made off in his car.

Taakimoeaka's defence maintains he was invited into the house by one of the girls.

Under cross-examination the godfather said he did not hear any knocking at the door.

Yesterday the 12-person jury was reduced to 11 after a juror was discharged for knowing the mother of one of the victims.

Man denies teen sex assaults 

The Marlborough Express