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Tourist bashers jailed

Last updated 15:44 16/05/2014

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Four Opotiki youths who brutally bashed a German tourist couple in Whakatane on Boxing Day were jailed today for aggravated robbery.

They appeared in the Whakatane District Court before Judge Louis Bidois, the Whakatane Beacon reported.

Jason Poihipi, 14, and Antonia Biddle, 15, were both jailed for three years and three months, Mark Wikotu, 19, was jailed for four years and four months, and Marshall Poihipi, 15, for four years and six months.

A fifth person, whose name remains suppressed, has pleaded not guilty.

The German couple had been asleep in their tent pitched in a public park. They were in a vulnerable state when confronted by the group, the court heard.

The pair were awoken early on Boxing Day to the group banging the sides of the tent with a branch.

When the couple came out of the tent Biddle lashed out first, punching the 18-year-old woman.

She pulled her to the ground and began hitting and kicking her.

When the 19-year-old man tried to stop the assault the other offenders punched and kicked him.

The German pair were able to run from the group, but they were chased down, pulled to the ground and the assault continued.

Jason Poihipi told the other offenders to stop when he considered the violence had gone too far and the group let the couple go, the court heard.

The offenders took jewellery, electrical items, the couple's rental car keys and put the items in the car.

Judge Bidois said he thought they had intended to steal the vehicle but were caught by police.

They used a branch and broom as weapons, combined with kicks and punches.

The male victim lost four teeth and required advanced dental reconstruction.

The female victim was left with a fractured arm, eye socket, cuts and extensive bruising.

Judge Bidois read from victim impact statements made soon after the attack and more recently.

The male victim said the pair had been planning the overseas experience for some time and it was cut short by the attack.

"This will have an impact on me for the rest of my life," he said.

The female victim said she still thought about the events every day.

"When I see a group of young people I feel scared."

The Poihipi and Biddle families have paid $1000 in emotional reparation to the victims, the court heard 

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