Offending had 'sinister connotations'

Last updated 14:26 08/07/2014

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A Southland teen repeatedly hit a 74-year-old man on the head with an axe handle, knocking him to the ground and causing him to bleed from the head, the Invercargill District Court has been told.

Zak Simonsen, 19, appeared this morning before Judge Stephen O'Driscoll for sentence on 10 charges, including wounding with intent to injure, burglary, indecent assault, being unlawfully in a yard and unlawful possession of a knife.

Judge O'Driscoll sentenced Simonsen to two years and two months' jail.

The offending, which happened last year, was serious, had sinister connotations and occurred in four distinct time periods, the judge said.

The first offence, in July, related to the burglary and indecent assault charges, when Simonsen indecently assaulted a female.

Then, on December 10, Simonsen took a copy of someone's spare key and used it to enter their property,. However, was disturbed by a neighbour.

On December 16, Simonsen was caught in a back yard by a 74-year-old man.

The man, armed with an axe handle, approached Simonsen and tapped him on the leg. Simonsen took the axe handle from the victim and struck him several times.

The man was knocked to the ground, bleeding from injuries to his head and arm.

Simonsen fled but police later tracked him to a vehicle. He was searched and a knife was found, the judge said.

The offending had sinister connotations and aspects of compulsive conduct, Judge O'Driscoll said.

Hitting the man with the axe handle had also been a clear overreaction, he said.

Psychiatric reports say Simonsen has a history of depression and problems with ADHD.

One also referred to psychosis, the judge said.

Defence lawyer Kate McHugh said at the time of the offending Simonsen had been mentally unwell, and in the seven months he had been in custody he had taken part in every form of intervention he could.

The experience had been ''very very sobering'' for him, McHugh said.

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- The Southland Times

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