After four years of stalking a woman, a man has been convicted of threatening to abduct her, make her suffer, and then murder her by cutting her throat with a craft knife.
Vincent Kerry Warren, 38, formed a crush on the woman when she was his driving instructor.
Married with two young children, she has been fearing for her safety and that of her family through four years of harassment.
Warren was convicted on criminal harassment charges for the fourth time today after a four-day judge-alone trial in the Christchurch District Court.
This time, he was also convicted on a charge of making threats to kill. He denied all charges.
Judge Alistair Garland said evidence by a man who met Warren several times while he was held in custody awaiting trial was "credible and reliable".
The man told the trial Warren would rock back and forth, rant and rave about the harassment prosecution, and role-play conversations where he told the woman off. He would then reply in a woman's voice, saying that she really did love him.
Warren would say that he "can't move on until she's gone". He said that when he got out of prison he would get a craft knife, take her to a remote location such as a hillside or riverbed where he would "make her suffer" for four years of pain, before cutting her throat and watching her die.
"I am left in no doubt that the defendant intended his threat to be taken seriously," the judge said.
"I formed the distinct impression that [the witness] was not exaggerating at all. He was just telling it as it was."
Warren gave evidence denying saying these things, and complaining that he had been misled and led on by the woman.
Judge Garland said: "I accept the defendant's evidence that he believed he had formed a personal relationship with the complainant during the driving programme. However, he was mistaken.
"He has clearly misinterpreted the complainant's professional efforts to help him through the course and transition him into employment as personal overtures, which they were not."
Warren must have realised from the woman's rejections, the repeated prosecutions, the reinforcement of the message by the police and judges, that she did not want anything to do with him and he was causing her to fear for her safety. At one stage, she took out a restraining order against him.
"I accept she made it clear there was no personal relationship," the judge said.
Warren's actions included:
- waiting for her near her home and work
- appearing to photograph her on his cellphone
- messages by text and through Facebook
- throwing eggs onto her house and driveway
- and leaving voice messages in an aggressive tone that were played in court.
He sent letters to her at home and to her workplace, and threatened to tell her husband that she had a past that she was hiding from him.
Judge Garland remanded Warren in custody for sentencing on August 6, and asked for a pre-sentence report.
- The Press