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NZ Herald
September 14 2000

Young trio jailed for slashing girl in robbery

Three teenage girls have been jailed for what a judge yesterday described as a "sadistic" slashing of a schoolgirl.

The 16-year-old victim was having a softdrink in a park in Three Kings while on her way to school in August last year when she was set upon.

The girl, who has name suppression, was thumped and kicked and had her head banged against a tree stump.

She was then dragged to a nearby toilet block, where she was robbed of $10.

Each time the girl said she had no more money to give, she was sliced with a pair of scissors.

She suffered a cut to her eyebrow, four slashes to her thigh and one to her stomach.

At the time of the attack, Teangarua Lucy Akatere was aged 15, Tania Mayze Vini was 14 and McCushla Priscilla Fuataha had just turned 14.

They were found guilty of aggravated robbery at a trial in the High Court at Auckland last month.

A 13-year-old girl involved in the attack was too young to be charged.

The youngest of the trio before court, Fuataha - who wielded the weapon - was sentenced to two years' jail. The other two received 18 months.

Prosecutor Kieran Raftery said Fuataha's conduct was the most "cold, callous and chilling."

The slicing of the victim was gratuitous. "It was almost toying and playing with her," Mr Raftery told Justice Tony Randerson.

The attackers left the girl bleeding and injured in the toilets and ran off in a "cowardly fashion."

Justice Randerson said the girl believed she was going to be killed.

In addition to permanent physical scarring, there were also the emotional scars she would have to endure.

The judge said he had given anxious consideration to the case.

Despite the defendants' young age, he did not consider a non-custodial sentence appropriate because of factors including the deliberate cutting of the victim, which he said was "quite sadistic."

Justice Randerson noted that the trio continued to deny their offending.

He gave leave for them to apply to the Parole Board for home detention.