Last chance for 'menace' to children

Margaret Dodds leaving court in March 2014.

Margaret Dodds leaving court in March 2014.

A woman who has been branded a "menace" and banned from being near children, was given a last chance by a District Court judge.

Margaret Mabel Dodds, 59, on November 28 breached a condition of her prison release that she not to  be near children aged under 16.

In the Christchurch District Court today, Judge Gary MacAskill said Dodds was well known to court, continued to be a risk to the community, and was at a high risk of going back to jail.

He sentenced her to intensive supervision for two years with conditions that she attend counselling and treatment as recommended by her probation officer.

Judge MacAskill warned Dodds that if she came back to court again for this type of offending, the court would have no alternative but to send her back to jail.

Dodds is a resident of the Seager Clinic at Princess Margaret Hospital, and has been banned from parks, recreation centres, shopping malls, some streets, public transport, and schools.

There have been notices about her on social media websites, and on notice boards in school staffrooms.

In an email to parents in 2013, Cashmere Primary School principal Jacqui Duncan warned that Dodds was "menacing and unsavoury".  

Dodds' record includes breaches of trespass orders, and repeated assaults on her caregivers.

She was jailed for six months in July after admitting an assault charge that replaced a charge of assaulting a child, a charge of disorderly behaviour that was likely to cause violence, and two charges of being unlawfully on properties.

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The court was told that she had pinned a 10-year-old girl against a tree in March last year after blocking her way as the child rode her scooter on a Cashmere walkway.

Dodds was jailed last July for this incident after the court heard she had placed her hands on the child's shoulders and pressed her stomach up against the victim's body, pinning her against a tree. When the girl said she had to go to ballet, Dodds asked her to show her some ballet moves.

In June last year, Dodds also blocked the path of a boy walking home from school on Main North Rd. She asked if he wanted a lolly and offered to walk him home but the boy ran away.

She was jailed for 10 weeks in October after breaching a trespass order by going to Barrington Mall earlier that month.

 - The Press

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