A man has been sentenced to a three year prison sentence for a kidnapping three female tourists, all in their 20s.
Late last year, repeat offender Sherb Junior Tamati (32) attracted the women to his flat in Taumarunui with promise of work, padlocked the front door, and threatened them with a knife attached to the end of a pole.
The attack was premeditated. Tamati had carefully set up a Facebook profile pretending to be the manager of a Taumarunui cafe. He offered the women employment and accommodation. He intended was to rob them, no doubt to feed a meth addiction.
He demanded their cash but the brave young women decided they would not be victims that day. They fought back, biting and clawing and punching their assailant, making their way out of a window to safety.
Here’s the story, as told by the local press. The women had
…been travelling the length of New Zealand for several months, picking up casual work where they could to help pay for their journey.
It was on November 27 last year when Tamati invited the three into his flat, which was situated above a business in central Taumarunui.
After showing the three around the flat, he ushered them into the lounge when, without warning, he pulled out the knife on the pole, which had been hidden behind a television set, and demanded they give him all their money.
However, one of the women was behind Tamati when he did this and she immediately leapt on his back while one of her companions grabbed the pole and knife.
A struggle ensued. One terrified woman fled from the room, only to find the flat’s front door had been padlocked.
She ran to the kitchen and climbed out a window, jumping from the second floor into a courtyard two metres below.
Meanwhile the other two women were violently trying to overcome their attacker, strangling him, punching him in the face, scratching him, biting his hands and poking his eyes with their fingers in an attempt to get him to let go of his weapon.
The two eventually managed to wrestle the knife from him and stood on it. Tamati ran into the kitchen while the two remaining women ran to the front door, which was still padlocked.
They managed to climb out another window and escaped along a rooftop.
With his prey now out of his clutches, Tamati also climbed out the kitchen window and fled the scene…read on
Tamati has a history of violence crime and meth abuse: 33 offenses over his 32 year life span.
His sentence was meant to act a punishment and to deter future offending. Yet, he was given a 25% discount on his jail time because he pleaded guilty, and the prospect of parole after serving half of his 3 year and 9 month sentence.
…There had been a very high level of premeditation, with Tamati not only taking the time to set up the fake Facebook profile, but also preparing his room with the knife and pole – “almost a bayonet” – and padlocking the front door.
He had lured the women there with the specific intention of robbing them.
“This was a well-thought-out plan … he deliberately targeted tourists,” Gilbert said.
It was not Tamati’s first such offence in his 33-strong conviction history. He was jailed in 2010 for two years and four months on a charge of assault with intent to rob, and he had since amassed further convictions for assault with intent to injure, male assaults female and property theft.
A pre-sentence report had found he had only “superficial” insight into his offending and was at high risk of reoffending and harm to others… read on
Crime, drugs a huge problem in New Zealand
Fueled by inter-generational poverty, mental illness, and substance abuse, violent crime against women and tourists is particularly prevalent in New Zealand. The country seems to have lost all hope of ever getting it under control and is floundering after cut backs to social support programs by the present government. New Zealand is now among the world’s largest users of crystal meth.
A staggering 21% of New Zealanders aged 16-64 used amphetamines in the year 2007/2008. Official government reports since then acknowledge that figures may be under-estimated as they do not include prison populations nor the homeless and samples are self selecting:
THOUSANDS DEPENDENT ON METH
In the 2016 Global Drug Survey conducted in partnership with global media partners, 17.8 per cent of the 7633 New Zealanders who took the survey reported having used some kind of amphetamine as recreational drug in their lifetime.
While 5.3 per cent reported to having used the drug in the past 12 months.
However, the GDS is not a nationally representative sample as participants are self-selecting.
The New Zealand Health Survey, carried out in 2013, found 25,700 Kiwis used amphetamine-type drugs – 1400 were dependant on the drug, while 24,300 were casual users.
Meanwhile, official figures put New Zealand’s usage rate at 0.9 per cent of the adult population.
Massey University’s Wilkins said casual meth use in New Zealand continued to grow as an increase in global supply meant p was easier and cheaper to source… source
A United Nations study, said New Zealand and Australia were second only to Thailand on methamphetamine abuse. Police Association president Greg O’Connor said
“There is a methamphetamine aspect to most crime in New Zealand.”
Increases in burglary and family violence could often be tied to meth use, he said.
Meanwhile, the increase in P houses – homes where meth had been cooked or smoked – was affecting “middle New Zealand”.
“P is a major problem and middle New Zealand is only realising it now.
“They have to rent rental properties and they’re going to end up having to wear the cost of this.”
Gangs, who supplied and manufactured the drug, were at the heart of the issue… source
While the courts are to some extent the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff,’ they do have an important role to play in keeping repeat offenders off the streets. They must ensure that the penalty fits the crime, particularity for high profile tourist attacks involving women and young people.
For many years E2NZ.org has been highlighting this problem. We’ve seen it get worse as inequality and meth use in New Zealand increased, and funding for polices and mental health/ drug support services plummeted.
Tourists are often seen as fair game, and as this case shows, they are. Until such time as the punishment fits the crime, and the courts start imposing sentences that act as a deterrent, our advice is the same as it always has been.
Give New Zealand a miss, go somewhere else.