Two girls abused by a paedophile are powerless to make the man remove their tattooed names from his forearms.
Christopher Hill, 34, who was jailed for seven years in Napier District Court last week, has the names of the sisters, now aged 12 and 13, tattooed from his wrists to his elbows. They were done in 2011 and were covered when he appeared in court.
The older girl, who was abused from the age of 4 until 10, made an emotional victim impact statement before Judge Jonathan Down. "Chris has my name tattooed on his arm. I hate this and it really upsets me," she said. "He didn't ask me if he could put my name on his arm. I would like it taken off. It feels like he owns me."
She cried as she described the dramatic impact his offending had had on her life, and said she was worried he would seek revenge when released.
The younger girl's victim impact statement, read by a family friend, also outlined how Hill's acts had affected her and said: "I'm upset about my name being tattooed on his arm. I remember he said he put our names there because he loved us. This makes me feel really yukky."
The girls' mother told the court she had trusted Hill "100 per cent". "Words cannot express how I feel . . . My family's destroyed and I have to get it back somehow."
A Corrections spokeswoman said prisoners could not be made to have tattoos removed.
"Staff can work with offenders to try and build the internal motivation to have offensive or intimidating tattoos removed.
"However, the prisoner may never reach a level of remorse where they deem it necessary to have them removed," she said.
If a prisoner wished to get a tattoo removed, it would be at their expense.
Corrections had a taxpayer-funded tattoo removal programme for inmates between 2000 and 2006. One prisoner who used it was John Gillies, who had his "Mongrel Mob Forever" tattoo removed.
Private prison operator Serco offered such programmes at Mt Eden Prison, the spokeswoman said.
In March, a jury found Hill guilty of a charge of attempted sexual violation by rape, unlawful sexual connection and six charges of indecent assault of a child under 12. All but one charge involved the older girl. Several charges were representative.
The judge said Hill's demeanour in the dock and a pre-sentence report made it plain he was dismissive of the charges and maintained his innocence.
Hill had slept in the same bed as the girls. "It's hard to see how such a situation arose, but having heard from [the mother] this morning, it is quite clear she was under a great deal of stress" and had put her total trust in Hill, the judge said.
It was easy for others to criticise her for that in hindsight, "but we don't know what the situation was".
The judge said the offending was the type "that keeps on harming for many years and sometimes for the lifetime of the victims".
Hill has a minimum non-parole period of 3 years.
- The Dominion Post