A convicted sex offender drove the streets of Waikato on the “hunt” for pre-pubescent girls to lure into his car with the promise of cash - but with more sinister thoughts in mind.
Cody Allen Young was eventually identified and caught by police, but not before he pulled one girl into a car in Huntly and attempted to drag another into his car in Hamilton earlier this year.
The recidivist criminal, who has a dismal sexual conviction history, can finally be revealed by NZME after his name suppression was not pursued by his defence counsel, Jessica Tarrant, when he was sentenced in the High Court at Hamilton today.
The court heard Young was at the centre of a police investigation in March after he tried to pull a 9-year-old girl into his car as she scootered home on a street in Claudelands about 8pm on February 25.
As she got near his rear passenger door he asked her if she wanted $20, to which she said “no”.
He then asked her if she could help him to press a button in his car. She agreed and as she kneeled on his seat, he tightly grabbed her arm.
As she screamed, he let go. She fell to the ground and scootered home, telling her mother what happened.
The kidnapping charge related to offending in a Huntly carpark, with another 9-year-old, a little more than a month later.
He pulled up next to the girl and asked if she could pick up some money that had fallen down the rear passenger seat of his car.
She leaned in but couldn’t find the money. Young became “angry and frustrated” and reached back and closed the rear passenger door.
Fearing for her safety, she struck and hit Young while screaming loudly and managed to get out of the car.
Young, who turned 32 on Tuesday, later told police he closed the car door on her to make her feel like she was going to be abducted.
He also admitted breaching his extended supervision order(ESO) six times - two of which related to the incidents involving the 9-year-olds - but four others also involved him being around young girls.
An ESO is imposed on high-risk sexual and violent offenders after their release from prison and regularly comes with conditions the offenders must follow.
In November last year, he talked to a girl at a Waitoa dairy and gave her money.
He was later talking to two girls, aged 7 and 11, and, on another occasion, he tried to lure a 13-year-old girl into his car in Paeroa.
Cody Allen Young was jailed when he appeared in the High Court at Hamilton. Photo / Belinda Feek
In court, Crown prosecutor Jacinda Hamilton descibed Young’s actions “particularly disturbing”.
“It’s predatory in nature.
“This defendant was hunting for children and there’s nothing ambiguous about his intentions as he has acknowledged that he was to use these children for his own sexual gratification.”
She urged Justice Gerard van Bohemen to hand down a sentence of preventive detention.
“The random selection of vulnerable victims is a matter which will cause significant concern moving forward having regard to the ongoing significant risk to pre-pubertal girls.
“His risk of reoffending in the future is at a high level in terms of sexual offending against, primarily, children.”
Young had only been on his ESO since 2021 and had breached it six times.
“He has had the opportunity of treatment ... and the feedback from providers is that while he has co-operated he is assessed as having low motivation.”
She also asked for a tempered guilty plea discount given the evidence against Young was “almost overwhelming”.
Tarrant accepted her client’s intent was initially to sexually offend against the girls, but said he let them go after realising he didn’t want to “muck up his life any further”.
“The offending was brief on each occasion and he did not drive off with either of the victims.
“The trouble is he went and out tried again the next day,” Justice von Bohemen replied, which Tarrant accepted.
However, Young’s previous terms of imprisonment had not been long enough for him to reap the benefits of rehabilitative programmes available to sex offenders behind bars.
Between 2019 and 2023 Young hadn’t undertaken any rehabilitative steps apart from a few “psych sessions”.
“It seems to have gone unaddressed and that is potentially what occurs if preventive detention is imposed.”
Hamilton responded - disputing Tarrant’s submission that Young had let his victims go - submitting they instead fought to remove themselves.
“What would the situation have been if the child was so frightened and unable to respond the way these girls did?”
A pre-sentence report revealed Young’s mother was 15 when he was born and he was introduced to cannabis, methamphetamine and alcohol at a young age.
Young admitted to “losing his moral compass” while on meth.
Justice van Bohemen ultimately agreed with Tarrant’s submission that Young was yet to experience a lengthy prison term along with the benefit of prison rehabilitation courses.
He jailed Young for four years and six months with a minimum non-parole period of three years.
Belinda Feek is an Open Justice reporter based in Waikato. She has worked at NZME for eight years and been a journalist for 19.
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