Sister ringleader in attack on man

A young Southland woman instigated a "wild west" home invasion on her brother's home which resulted in him being attacked with a hammer by two men, an Invercargill District Court judge said yesterday.

Jacinda Rangi-Marie Ngatahi Pennicott, 23, was sentenced yesterday to eight months' home detention while her co-offenders, Jason Whakarau, 41, and Kenneth Gundersen, 40, were sentenced to 19 months' jail and 24 months' jail, respectively.

Judge Kevin Phillips said Pennicott was upset about hurtful comments her brother Tamati Pennicott had made to her so she sought retribution. As a result, she drove Whakarau and Gundersen, along with her children, to her brother's home in Mataura on February 14 last year.

When they arrived at the house she threatened to kill a female at the house and Whakarau ran in and tackled Tamati Pennicott before using the claw of a hammer to rake across his face, Judge Phillips said.

Jacinda Pennicott urged Whakarau on and prevented her brother's pregnant partner from calling police, the judge said. Gundersen then took the hammer from Whakarau and struck Tamati Pennicott in the back three times while holding on to the head of the hammer.

Judge Phillips, when sentencing Jacinda Pennicott on charges that included assault with intent to injure, said he accepted she was unaware the hammer was going to be used in the attack, leading to her facing a lesser charge than the other two. However, she was still the ringleader, he said.

The main charge Whakarau and Gundersen were sentenced for was assault with a weapon.

Judge Phillips appeared particularly galled that Pennicott had driven her children to the scene of the attack.

Her brother, Tamati Pennicott, who was known to the courts, did not receive serious injuries in the attack, Judge Phillips said.

The Southland Times