18 Dec 2008

Mother, grandfather sentenced for boy's abduction

9:20 pm on 18 December 2008

The mother and grandfather of a Hamilton boy have been sentenced to home detention for his abduction.

Kay Skelton and her 70-year-old father Dick Headley were sentenced at the High Court in Hamilton on Thursday, along with friend Nikala Taylor.

Skelton, 38, was sentenced to nine months' home detention and 300 hours of community work.

Headley was given the maximum sentence of home detention - 12 months.

Taylor, 37, was sentenced to 400 hours of community work and 12 months' supervision.

All three pleaded guilty to taking the boy in August 2006.

The six-year-old was abducted from the Hamilton Central Library and taken into hiding in Northland with Headley.

In its submissions, the Crown said the abduction was pre-meditated and well planned.

Justice Priestly said all who were sentenced on Thursday had breached the trust of a young and defenceless child.

The judge told Skelton and Headley that, though they deserved to go to jail, he was going to be lenient for the sake of the boy.

However, he warned the pair that any breaches of their home detention would be treated severely.

Justice Priestley said victim impact reports were disturbing reading, showing the boy has been affected academically by missing five months of schooling and he is using avoidance strategies by pretending the abduction did not take place.

The boy's father, Chris Jones, believes the sentences are too light, saying Skelton and Headley have come away relatively unscathed by their actions.

However, Mr Jones says everyone involved needs to move forward for his son's sake.

Skelton's lawyer, Barry Hart, says he is comfortable with the sentences imposed, as it would have been unsatisfactory for the boy if his mother and grandfather were sent to jail.