Assaults, sex abuse 'regular part of relationship'

It might "defy belief", but an alleged victim of sexual abuse, degradation and violence stayed with her partner because she loved him, a jury has been told.

A 53-year old Nelson man has denied charges that he violently abused, and sexually degraded the mother of his children during their nearly 20-year relationship.

The unemployed man faces 16 charges including rape, assault, sexual violation, doing indecent acts with intent to insult or offend, and compelling indecency with an animal.

They include allegations that he slammed her head into a concrete wall, beat her around the legs with a claw hammer, and threatened to kill her with a kitchen knife.

The man also faces representative charges that he regularly punched and kicked the complainant, sometimes in front of their children.

During opening statements in the High Court at Nelson yesterday, Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber said the accused had assaulted and violated his former partner on a regular basis throughout their relationship.

The charges date from 1997 when the couple lived in the North Island.

The most recent relate to an alleged incident of abuse in Nelson this year, which was the "final straw" that motivated the complainant to go to the police, Mr Webber said.

Mr Webber told the jury she had been in love with the accused, and, although it might defy their belief, had chosen to stay with him throughout the years of abuse.

That was despite a life spent "walking on egg shells" and "treading steps carefully, so as not to set him off", Mr Webber said.

Mr Webber said the alleged sexual violations were at times more about "punishment and degradation" than anything sexual.

The man is represented by Tony Bamford and Michael Vesty. Mr Vesty said his client denied ever sexually abusing the woman.

Although he accepted that theirs was, from time to time, a violent relationship, his client maintained that the violence went two ways, Mr Vesty said.

The man had pleaded not guilty to the charges of violence he faces.

The trial has been scheduled to continue all week before Justice Collins.

The accused's son is also due to give evidence.