Prison for 'callous attack' of terminally-ill man in Marlborough

Waimaria Katarina Paul admitted theft and assault at the Blenheim District Court on Monday.

Waimaria Katarina Paul admitted theft and assault at the Blenheim District Court on Monday.

A Blenheim woman and two men have been jailed for beating a terminally-ill man, robbing him of his medication, and leaving him on the side of a rural highway.

The attack, in Marlborough's Wairau Valley in December 2015, left the victim, Colin Peter Farrell, with injuries, unable to eat and unable to leave his house.

Farrell has since died from his illness.

Lynne Amanda Jackson, 52, and Dennis Edward Bullen, 55, both of Blenheim, denied charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated injury, claiming it was a drug deal gone wrong, but were found guilty following a trial in Nelson last year.

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A third offender, Ilyas Ismail Guler​, 29, a German national who is in New Zealand on a working holiday visa, had previously admitted the same charges. 

"It was a callous attack. It was not the most sophisticated plan ... but each of you played an important role in the robbery," Judge Tony Zohrab said at their sentencing at the Blenheim District Court on Tuesday.

According to a police summary of facts, Jackson sent a text message to the victim - a close friend of hers - asking if she could buy cannabis from him.

She told him to meet them on State Highway 63 in Wairau Valley, west of Blenheim, on the evening of December 22, 2015.

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The trio parked on the side of the road and got into Farrell's car to collect half a pound of cannabis, the summary said.

Jackson and Bullen then took the cannabis to their car without paying for it, while Guler dragged the victim from his car, restrained him and beat him, causing bleeding and broken teeth.  

Guler searched the man's car and took a bag of ventolin inhalers, Lorazepam and Amoxicillin, a cellphone and a pair of black safety glasses.

The trio then drove back to Bullen's house in Blenheim to divide up the stolen goods, leaving Farrell "hog-tied" on the ground, Judge Zohrab said.

A member of the public found him later that night and took him to Wairau Hospital in Blenheim. 

After Farrell made a statement to police, Jackson, Bullen and Guler were arrested and their homes searched, prompting further drugs charges. 

Jackson was charged with offering to supply methadone, Bullen with cultivation of cannabis, and Guler with possession of cannabis. All three faced charges for possession of cannabis pipes.

In court on Tuesday, Bullen's lawyer Rennie Gould said he "never thought it would go that far" and was genuinely remorseful for his involvement.

Farrell died from his terminal illness shortly after the trial, and Bullen regretted never saying sorry to the man, Gould said.

Judge Tony Zohrab described the robbery as "callous" and said he doubted Bullen's remorse was genuine.

​"You lied quite happily during the course of your interview with police. And there was plenty of time to apologise to this man even the day after the trial."

Jackson had betrayed the man and used their relationship to take advantage of him when he was vulnerable, Judge Zohrab said.

Her lawyer Emma Riddell said Jackson was motivated by addiction.

"She has suffered a lot more in her life than many people and that does go a long way toward explaining her substance abuse."

Judge Zohrab gave her credit for a lack of prior convictions and sentenced her to five years and six months in prison.

Bullen, with a history of violence and dishonesty, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison.

Guler was given credit for his guilty plea and giving evidence against his co-offenders and was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison.

Judge Zohrab also ordered them to pay $1000 each to Farrell's family as an emotional harm payment.

 - The Marlborough Express

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