Woman jumped on uncle's car bonnet to save herself

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014

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A young woman says she was forced to leap on to the car bonnet of her uncle's car when he tried to force his way into her family's property, the New Plymouth District Court has heard.

Peter Robin White, 53, has denied assaulting his niece Lauren Johnson using his car as a weapon and possession of an offensive weapon, a wooden baton, on October 20 at Lepperton.

The alleged assault was the culmination of a family dispute over White's entitlement to be on the land after his brother died.

Crown prosecutor Andrew Britton told how White had been trespassed from his deceased brother and his partner, David White and Linda Johnson's Lepperton property.

When his brother was alive, White had been allowed to stay in a loft in a shed in a property and have his truck there. There had been an incident on March 1 last year when White, who was trespassed from the property, had come on to the land and assaulted Johnson and threatened to kill her. He told Johnson: "If my mother dies you're next, bitch."

White was found guilty of assaulting a female and threatening to kill her.

He had no ownership rights to his brother's estate which was in a family trust. He had told the family the land belonged to his mother.

When he again arrived in his car on October 20, his niece, Lauren Johnson ran out of the house to shut the steel gate to stop him coming.

But White drove his car straight at her, forcing her onto the bonnet as he drove through the gate.

He ignored pleas from Lauren's mother Linda Johnson to stop.

White got out of the car with a wooden baton in his hand waving it in an aggressive way.

He still had the baton in his hand when police arrived and was arrested.

He told police he didn't want to make a statement because he couldn't think straight.

His lawyer, Patrick Mooney, said it was not a case about trespassing, nor a misplaced sense of entitlement but whether White had assaulted Lauren Johnson with a weapon and possessed an offensive weapon.

He had gone there because he had been advised his truck had been removed from the property. When he arrived he was confronted by four members of the Johnson family and had got into his car. He could only move forward and did not intentionally drive at Lauren Johnson.

There was no assault. Lauren Johnson had flopped onto the car presumably to stop him going in.

He had picked up a stick to keep the family at bay because they were yelling at him.

The trial continues.

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