ZB ZB
Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Listen to NAME OF STATION
Up next
Listen live on
ZB

Dragged to his death: Now the woman involved is up for parole and says she's sorry

Author
Tara Shaskey,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Jun 2024, 8:44pm
Taranaki farm worker Jacob Ramsay was murdered by two of his colleagues in July 2022. Jodie Hughes (left) was found guilty of manslaughter for the role she played in his death.
Taranaki farm worker Jacob Ramsay was murdered by two of his colleagues in July 2022. Jodie Hughes (left) was found guilty of manslaughter for the role she played in his death.

Dragged to his death: Now the woman involved is up for parole and says she's sorry

Author
Tara Shaskey,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Jun 2024, 8:44pm

A young mother involved in the murder of a farmer who was beaten, chained to a car and dragged to his death, says the killing should never have happened and that she had taken her anger out on the wrong person. 

Jacob Mills Ramsay, 33, was murdered by his colleagues, William Candy and Ethan Webster, over money he owed, and his body was dumped in a rubbish pit at a Taranaki dairy farm. 

Candy and Webster admitted to killing the Taranaki father and were sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Jodie Shannon Hughes, 32, was charged alongside them but was acquitted of murder at a trial in August last year. 

However, she was found guilty of manslaughter and wounding him with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and was jailed in October for five years and six months. 

Now, eight months into her prison term, Hughes, who was held in custody until her trial, is eligible for release and has made her first appearance before the Parole Board. 

At Thursday’s hearing, board member Fiona Pimm told Hughes the panel had spoken to Ramsay’s family and that they did not believe she was remorseful. 

They felt Hughes showed no remorse at trial and were concerned she was only showing it now because she wanted to be released from prison. 

“They believe you encouraged and supported the violence, they’re concerned you did nothing to intervene or stop the offending and you did nothing after the murder to identify to anyone else where his body lay,” Pimm said. 

The family was distraught that someone could have such disregard for human life, she said. 

In response, Hughes was adamant she regretted her offending and said she did not want to leave jail just yet. 

“I accept what they say and what they feel. I do have remorse. I am sincerely sorry. 

“I’m not asking for a release because I’m not ready for that right now.” 

Hughes’ counsel Olivia Kazmierow told the board the mother of two “was not in a rush to get to the finish line” and wanted to continue working on herself. 

She was partway through Kowhiritanga, a group-based programme for female offenders with rehabilitation needs, and was scheduled to begin a substance abuse programme in September. 

Kazmierow said Hughes had made efforts to hold herself accountable for her lifestyle and decision-making by engaging “full force” in self-improvement. 

“Ms Hughes would like to be able to return to the community and be present in her children’s lives again but that would be disruptive if it was to happen too soon. 

“She is determined to demonstrate to others that she is capable of change.” 

Pimm raised with Hughes the fact the murder occurred over Ramsay’s unpaid debt to Candy of $250 and asked how she now felt about that. 

“It shouldn’t have happened. It didn’t need to happen,” Hughes said. 

“It seemed like something I’ve always had a problem with in a relationship and it just extended to this. I just didn’t understand how far it got, or why. 

“I can see where it should have stopped. I know who my anger was towards and I’ve taken it out on the wrong person.” 

Hughes was in a relationship with Candy at the time and it was heard at trial she was frustrated Ramsay had not repaid the money and angry at Candy’s failure to do anything about it. 

Jacob Ramsay, a father of three, was killed over money he owed. 

When Hughes was asked if she was still in a relationship with Candy, she said they were no longer together and had no recent contact. 

“It’s not what I want, I just had to get some confidence in myself to end that and realise what I need and what my children deserve,” she said. 

The panel said Hughes was progressing well but still had a way to go in her rehabilitation. 

She will next appear before the Parole Board in April, after she has completed the programmes, undergone a psychological assessment and begun the reintegration process. 

  

Dragged to his death 

While Ramsay was killed over money he owed, he had also been accused of stealing petrol and tools from a dairy farm in Ōaonui, South Taranaki, where he, Candy and Webster all worked and lived in separate farmhouses. 

On July 29, 2022, Candy gave him a beating at the Ōakura cemetery before forcing him into Hughes’ vehicle and taking him back to the Upper Kina Rd farm. 

When they arrived on the tanker track, Candy continued the attack and Webster also delivered several blows and stomps to Ramsay’s head. 

Candy then chained Ramsay to the back of a car by his ankle and he and Webster dragged him for almost 1km along a gravel track. 

His body was dumped into a rubbish pit at the farm and he was found dead two days later by his employer. 

Ramsay suffered more than 30 blunt-force trauma injuries to his head, neck, chest and limbs, as well as lacerations to his scalp, multiple fractures and brain bleeds. 

At the outset of Hughes’ trial, she pleaded guilty to kidnapping Ramsay and the burglary of his home but not guilty to wounding him with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) and to murder. 

The burglary related to Hughes breaking into his home and stealing two of his TVs, and the kidnapping was when she detained him in her vehicle and drove him back to the farm with Candy. 

It was the Crown’s case that while she did not physically harm Ramsay, she was “very much” involved in Candy’s violence towards him, making her a party to the GBH and murder. 

She was angry Ramsay had not repaid her and Candy the money he owed them so she encouraged the violence and stopped others who tried to intervene. 

Ramsay’s wife, Sarah Tasker, was only weeks away from giving birth to their second child at the time of his death. Olliver was born in September 2022. 

The couple also had an older son, Hunter, and Ramsay was the stepfather of Tasker’s oldest son, Lucus. 

 

Tara Shaskey joined NZME in 2022 as a news director and Open Justice reporter. She has been a reporter since 2014 and previously worked at Stuff covering crime and justice, arts and entertainment, and Māori issues. 

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you