16 Mar 2017

Dome Valley accused left CCTV footage on purpose - lawyer

7:42 pm on 16 March 2017

The lawyer for one of the women charged with attempted murder in the Dome Valley kidnapping case says her client purposefully left a record of her involvement on a petrol station security camera.

Nicola Jones is one of four people facing charges relating to two separate kidnappings of a 19-year-old woman who was left for dead.

Her lawyer, Maria Pecotic, started at the beginning. In January last year, Ms Jones sent a threatening text message to the victim's mother, saying that if she saw the victim she would kill her.

But Ms Pecotic said the messages also included concern that the victim was on drugs and urged her mother to intervene.

"These text messages reflect an emotional outpouring from a gutted, upset person who has just discovered that the person she has been helping, and who has been living with her for the past few months, has betrayed her by having an affair with her partner and had a hand, what she believes, in having her children removed from her. She is simply venting."

Three months later, the Crown said Nicola Jones and Julie-Anne Torrance had the victim lured to a West Auckland flat on the premise of a drug deal.

Ms Jones has admitted the kidnapping but denied a charge of using a taser against the victim.

Ms Pecotic said data from her client's cellphone showed she wasn't at the address long enough for that to happen and the victim had changed her story three times.

Fast-forward two weeks later, the Crown said Ms Jones spotted the victim on Auckland's Karangahape Rd. Ms Jones forced her into a car where Ms Torrance, Michelle Blom and Jaclyn Keates were waiting and they drove back to Ms Blom's West Auckland home.

The Crown said the victim was beaten, sexually violated and had her hair cut off before Ms Jones, Ms Torrance and Wayne Blackett drove her up to a remote road in Dome Valley.

Mr Blackett, who has admitted a charge of attempted murder, throttled the victim before trying to break her neck and striking her in the head with a hammer at least 10 times.

But Ms Pecotic pointed to evidence that Ms Jones had later told a close friend that she had called out to Mr Blackett to stop as Mr Blackett swung the hammer.

She said Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey had asked why Ms Jones did not call for an ambulance.

"Well, may I suggest an answer to this question? If you had just seen someone hit with a hammer, then fall down and not move, wouldn't you think that the worst possible thing had happened to them? And wouldn't you think that an ambulance, in that situation, would be futile?"

Ms Jones told the same witness that she asked Mr Blackett to stop at a petrol station in Warkworth on their way back to Auckland.

"She wanted to make sure that they stopped there, to ensure that they were on camera. If your intention had been to kill someone, the last thing you would want to do is leave a deliberate trail in such close proximity to the scene."

Julie-Anne Torrance's lawyer, Nicholas Wintour, laid the blame for what happened in the basement at the feet of the Crown's witness, Jaclyn Keates.

"It is the defence case that it is Jaclyn, in summary, that punches [the victim] in the face, stomps on her hand breaking her finger and goes on to strike [the victim] with the cricket wicket with her DNA evidence on it and then, of course, violate her."

Keates is currently serving a prison sentence after admitting her part in the kidnapping.

Tomorrow the jury are due to hear one more closing address before Justice Whata sums up the case and they retire to consider their verdicts.