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Man chokes mother in front of child

A man who choked his former partner in front of their four-year-old son then fractured her sternum during a “very severe assault”.

Robbie Charles Hunton, 37, pleaded guilty to one charge of assault with intent to injure at Masterton District Court on Thursday.

Judge Mary O’Dwyer said the victim had been terrified.

“She really thought you were going to kill her.”

The incident occurred on July 10 when Hunton returned to his partner’s home and began to argue with her.

The judge said Hunton had been drinking, and refused to leave.

He took a swipe at the victim with his leg, it connected and she fell to the ground, the judge said.

He then grabbed her by the neck with both hands and held her against a pool table.

The victim managed to free herself by scratching his face.

“The most disturbing thing was… that your child was watching this,” Judge O’Dwyer said.

Hunton then punched the victim in the chest, who fell and crawled along the floor to where the child was to try and comfort the boy.

“The blow to her chest broke her chest bone,” Judge O’Dwyer said.

“This was a very severe assault.”

The court heard how the child became more anxious after the attack, and became clingy towards the mother.

The judge said the victim wanted to move on from this, and considered Hunton was making a real attempt to address the issue.

“You don’t have a history of violence in the domestic context,” Judge O’Dwyer said.

“You do have a long history of drug offending.

“This is an isolated, albeit very serious incident.”

At the time of the altercation Hunton was the fulltime caregiver for his child.

“That didn’t suit you, that’s no criticism, it just didn’t suit you,” the judge said.

An employer had told the court Hunton was hardworking, honest and reliable, and that he did not demonstrate poor impulse control.

Defence lawyer James Elliot said Hunton was supported in court by his father.

In reviewing the facts, Judge O’Dwyer considered the early guilty plea and “genuine remorse” shown by the defendant to be mitigating factors.

Hunton was sentenced to 12 months of supervision.

The judge added three conditions to his sentence: he must attend a substance abuse program, a living without violence program, and must not contact the victim.

He was also sentenced to six months of community detention, in which he is to adhere to a curfew.

He was also sentenced to 100 hours of community work.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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