Warning: This story contains graphic content
A woman was subjected to an attack so horrific and relentless that it only came to a stop as police officers arrived.
As a result, all of her ribs were broken and she was left needing a splint to help her breathe.
Yesterday, the woman came face-to-face with her attacker, Shae Ryan Dobbs, again when he appeared in Hamilton District Court for sentencing.
She sat in a wheelchair as her victim impact statement was read to him by a relative on her behalf.
Her statement said that she was home alone when the 37-year-old burst in, armed with a piece of wood.
He angrily confronted her, claiming she had stolen $23 million from him.
As she got up, he pushed her back and threw her phone against a wall, breaking it. He then launched an attack on the woman, who was granted permanent name suppression, aged in her 50s.
Dobbs hit her in the side of the head before she managed to escape outside, however, she fell and became trapped between a fence and a plant holder.
He then subjected the woman to a “prolonged” attack by kicking and stomping her head, hitting her with various objects and grabbing a pitchfork and using it to stab her arm as she lay defenceless on the ground.
The victim continued to call out for help. At one point, Dobbs went to a neighbour’s house and asked for petrol.
Dobbs was asked to leave the property and he returned to the woman and continued with his gruesome assault, which only stopped once police arrived.
Some of the attack was captured by neighbours on their mobile phones and the footage showed Dobbs saying, “She is already dead mate do you have any petrol to burn this demon?”. The victim can be heard yelling for help.
After injuring the woman so severely she nearly died, Dobbs was charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The woman suffered multiple fractures and wounds to her head and limbs, lost five teeth, and broke every rib - some in several places.
The victim described the August 18 violence as “the night you tried to kill me.
“You hit me with things, you even spat on me and stabbed me with a pitchfork ... you broke multiple bones in my face ... you broke every one of my ribs so badly I needed a splint to breathe.”
She had not returned to her home since the attack and was instead forced to find somewhere else - and more expensive - to live.
The woman suffered panic attacks, no longer trusted people, and was unable to walk far unaided or drive.
Crown prosecutor Rebecca Mann sought a start point of up to 13 years’ imprisonment, while defence counsel Glenn Dixon argued for 11 years.
Mann said Dobbs had not shown genuine remorse and while he entered an early guilty plea, the evidence against him was “overwhelming”.
However, while agreeing the victim and her family had been subjected to a “terrible odeal”, Dixon said Dobbs had not asked for anything but his full plea discount.
“To say that he should get less than 25 per cent is somewhat cynical in my humble view,” he said.
Dobbs - whose criminal history is littered with violent offending - was drunk and high on methamphetamine at the time of the attack and he was remorseful for his actions, Dixon submitted.
Dobbs had also pleaded guilty to charges relating to a burglary in Cambridge on February 17, assaulting his 74-year-old neighbour on the same day, and two charges of threatening to kill two people in Tapu, near Thames, on May 14.
Judge Tini Clark took an overall start point of 13 years - including six months for the lesser offending - then, following discounts, jailed Dobbs for eight years and 11 months with a 50 per cent minimum non-parole period.
She also banned him from owning a firearm by issuing a firearms prohibition order, and granted a protection order in the victim’s favour.
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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