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‘Your abuse has stolen her life’ Man, 50, sentenced to eight years in prison for rape

Friday 17 March 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, Crime, National, Outer Islands

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‘Your abuse has stolen her life’ Man, 50, sentenced to eight years in prison for rape

(WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of the offences committed by the defendant). A Mangaia man who only stopped raping his teenage victim after she gave birth to their son has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Teina Ngametuatoe, 50, showed little emotion as he was led from the dock at the High Court in Avarua yesterday.

In sentencing, Justice Christopher Toogood described the defendant’s offending as prolonged and disturbing.

The defendant’s wife was in court and shed tears as he was sentenced for rape, three counts of indecent assault on a girl aged between 12 and 16, assault on a child, two of assault on a female, two of assault with intent to injure and contempt of court. 

Justice Toogood said the offending began when the victim was 5-years-old and continued to until she gave birth aged 15.

The sexual assaults started when she was aged 12 to 13, in what Justice Toogood described as disturbing reading.

On one occasion the defendant had been warned by police after a school teacher complained the victim had suffered injuries following an assault in which she sustained bruising and black eyes.  

He would go into the victim’s room and sexually assault her leaving her in pain and bleeding.

If she refused his advances, she was forced into hard labour, and on one occasion she was taken to hospital after he heard her crying and punched her.

On another occasion, while refusing his advances, she was grabbed by the throat and choked.

When the victim gave birth in 2009, she left for Australia and returned in 2010.

The physical assaults continued as she was hit with a hose, kicked and punched.

The victim laid a complaint with police in 2021 before the defendant admitted the offending, telling police he had been in love with her since she was in Form 1 and 2. 

The court heard the victim, now 29, only stopped self-harming after reporting the offending, which helped her to start healing.

It also heard the victim’s mother had asked her to drop the case and the two had not spoken to each other in two years. The victim wanted to talk to her mother again and hoped she would attend her wedding.   

The victim would tell others about the abuse and they would not believe her.

Justice Toogood said the physical effects had gone away but the mental effects remained.

“The truth is she lived in fear, she could no longer live in the same island,” said Justice Toogood.

“Your abuse has stolen her life, she no longer has a relationship with her mother, she does not trust males and doesn’t want to have a daughter with her partner, and leave a daughter with any males.

“She says now you have pleaded guilty you deserve more than jail; you don’t deserve to live.”

In sentencing Ngametuatoe, Justice Toogood said it was his aim to hold him accountable and make him acknowledge the harm he had caused while protecting the community and assisting in his rehabilitation. 

“The offending was appalling.”

Sentencing would give the victim some closure, Justice Toogood said.

It took courage for victims of such crimes to come forward, the delay of complaints in such cases were common.

“There was nothing loving about how you used her,” Justice Toogood told Ngametuatoe.

It was described as a “perverted sexual obsession”.

The defendant was described as highly regarded in the Mangaia community, a Rangatira, one rank below the Paramount Chief, but the nature and extent of the offending meant the mitigating factors were limited.

“There is a strong sense of community support and level of forgiveness consistent to Cook Islands culture,” Justice Toogood said.

“Those who support you pay far less regard for a former member of their community.”

Following sentencing, Justice Toogood told the court he acknowledged the victim who had suffered terribly.