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Man gave partner Valentine's Day slap, covered her mouth then pinned her down

Tracy Neal,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Jul 2024, 9:05pm
A man's meth-fuelled crime spree began with him assaulting his partner on Valentine's Day last year. It ended with him being sent to prison. Photo / 123RF
A man's meth-fuelled crime spree began with him assaulting his partner on Valentine's Day last year. It ended with him being sent to prison. Photo / 123RF

Man gave partner Valentine's Day slap, covered her mouth then pinned her down

Tracy Neal,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Jul 2024, 9:05pm

A Valentine’s Day argument led to a spiral of methamphetamine-fuelled offending that has landed a man in prison.

Grayson Newton was today sentenced on 17 charges for offending from February to October last year, beginning on Valentine’s Day when he argued with his then partner, slapped her in the face and then slapped her on the backside so hard she was unable to sit down.

The woman with whom he had been in an on-off relationship for about 18 months was then grabbed by the hair as Newton put his hand over her mouth and pinned her down.

His current fiancee looked on from the back of the Nelson District Court as the 34-year-old’s relatively brief but intense history of offending was relayed to him as he looked on via video link from prison, where he has been on remand for several months.

Newton’s lawyer Michael Vesty said over nine months last year he had covered the gambit of offending from violence to dishonesty and driving offences.

It was not the family violence that constituted the lead charge, although Judge Garry Barkle said it was not in any way minimising it, but his theft of a $23,000 truck he then set alight that saw Newton sent to prison for two years and seven months.

He was lucky not to have been charged with arson, given that he did the burglary while on bail, Judge Barkle noted.

Vesty said an alcohol and drug report from 2021 showed that Newton did not have a taste for methamphetamine; in fact, he was said not to like it but by July this year, it was a different story.

Meth had overrun his life, and put him on a course for where he ultimately ended up today, Vesty said.

“The common thread was his destructive use of methamphetamine and the meth spiral he was on.”

However, his time in custody already had allowed him enough insight and ability to see the harm he had caused.

Newton admitted four charges of assaulting a person in a family relationship which arose from the Valentine’s Day argument.

He and his former partner had agreed to spend the day together but an argument erupted that ended with Newton assaulting her.

A few weeks later, on March 24 last year, Newton was riding a non-registered dirtbike along Suffolk Rd, in the Nelson suburb of Stoke, when he rode at speed through road works, overtaking vehicles as he went, until he ran into a car that was turning into a driveway.

The owner later said in his victim impact statement that while his car was old, it had been his pride and joy and he was annoyed he had now lost the vehicle.

Newton, a disqualified driver, was thrown from the bike but ran away when he heard the sirens approaching. A subsequent blood alcohol test revealed he was just over the legal alcohol limit, but also had drugs in his system.

On May 22, he added theft and receiving charges to his growing list of crimes.

Newton and an associate stole almost $6000 of tools from the back of a Nelmac (council maintenance firm) truck that was stored in a yard near the Saxton sports complex.

In the same month, several burglaries were reported from homes being built at a nearby development in the Marsden Valley.

During a search of one of the homes under construction, Newton was found with LED floodlights, boxes of screws and door handles.

On October 18 he stole a bike and helmet from Nayland College in Stoke.

Then on October 24 he entered a commercial property along Main Rd, Hope, walked around the back of a packing shed and drove off in a Mitsubishi light truck. It was found 13km away and burnt out.

Newton then entered a property in Appleby and attempted to get into another vehicle but when he found it was locked he removed a nearby CCTV camera and smashed a headlight on the vehicle.

He was also charged with twice breaching intensive supervision.

Judge Barkle adopted a prison starting point of three years and three months, which was then reduced by 20% for Newton’s guilty pleas, even though they had not been made early.

He was given a further 10% reduction for the work he had done on remand to recognise and address his problems, for the judge to arrive at the end sentence of two years and seven months.

Reparation was set at $23,000 but because Newton did not have a hope of paying that, he was ordered to pay the $400 insurance excess for the truck, a further $400 for damage caused to vehicle he had tried to take, and $1750 for the theft of the bike and helmet.

He was also ordered to pay $2500 reparation to the owner of the vehicle damaged in the collision.


How to get help: If you're in danger now: • Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours or friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people. Scream for help so your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you. Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women's Refuge: Crisis line - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 (available 24/7)
• Shine: Helpline - 0508 744 633 (available 24/7)
• It's Not Ok: Family violence information line - 0800 456 450
• Shakti: Specialist services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and children.
• Crisis line - 0800 742 584 (available 24/7)
• Ministry of Justice: For information on family violence
• Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga: National Network of Family Violence Services
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women.

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Tracy Neal is a Nelson-based Open Justice reporter at NZME. She was previously RNZ’s regional reporter in Nelson-Marlborough and has covered general news, including court and local government for the Nelson Mail.

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