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Hamilton court hears man told woman if he can’t have her, no one will

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Sonny Hare Paul, 46, inflicted violence on the victim that must have been “terrifying” for her and also her children. Photo / 123rf

After laying out lingerie on the victim’s bed, Sonny Hare Paul told her that if he couldn’t have her, “no one could”.

The woman had just returned from visiting a friend, when she saw the lingerie laid out on her bed with a note saying: “I hope you’re happy and last a long time like we did. Good luck. God bless you.”

Her fears the Waikato 46-year-old was in the house were true and another traumatic assault would then take place.

Paul has been jailed by Judge Philip Crayton in the Hamilton District Court on multiple charges including sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, assaulting a female, and representative charges of assault with a weapon and breach of protection order from incidents between August and October 2022.

Paul and his victim have known each other for about 15 years.

In the first incident, Paul strangled the woman for between 20 and 40 seconds during an argument, leaving her struggling to breathe.

The assault stopped when two children walked into the room but he proceeded to threaten to cut her face.

He told her that he would “destroy her so no one else would want her”.

On October 8, about 10.30pm, the victim arrived home and walked into her bedroom and saw lingerie had been laid out on the bed with the note.

Having seen the note she was concerned he was inside the house, then got a call from a male friend to see if she got home safely.

After the call ended, Paul walked into her bedroom and became angry with her for talking to the friend.

He told her if he couldn’t have her “then no one could”, and that he would take them both; he would kill her and then kill himself.

He grabbed her phone, smashed it, and walked around the house taking every phone he could find, even if they were not working.

Paul then went into the victim’s bedroom and forced her to lie down next to him.

He tried to get on top of her and said, “Why can’t you just love me?”

She tried to push him away and he became more aggressive and then sexually assaulted her.

He eventually calmed down and the victim fell asleep, but she was woken by Paul holding her phone in her face.

Her male friend was on the other end of the call. Paul made him listen to what was going on.

When the victim tried to get off the bed, Paul told her to be quiet and leaned on her throat before punching her.

Paul also had a knife and held it to her throat while she was on the phone and said, “Enjoy this conversation guys, ‘cos it’s gonna be your last”.

The male friend called the police. When they arrived Paul pulled the victim away and held the knife close to her throat, but he was tackled by officers, who managed to disarm him.

‘Terrifying, prolonged, and very sadistic’

Crown solicitor James Lewis told Judge Crayton there appeared to be a lack of remorse by Paul and even victim blaming.

His behaviour displayed a clear intention to control the victim.

“This would have been a terrifying, prolonged, and very sadistic experience for the victim and the children in those circumstances.”

‘He is remorseful’

Paul’s counsel, Truc Tran, said his client wanted to do restorative justice but when it was declined he wrote a remorse letter instead.

“This is someone here who struggles to put pen to paper and struggles with his writing.

“The letter, I would say, does express full responsibility for what happened.”

‘Demeaning and no doubt painful’

Judge Crayton said the offences were expressions of “physical dominance and control”.

“The general offending is demeaning and no doubt painful.

“The strangulation leaves the victim . . . in no doubt that her life is in your hands.”

He jailed Paul for three years, seven months, and two weeks.

“You need to come to terms with what you have done and you need to own it,” the judge told him.

“You need to own the fact that this must have been terrifying for the victim but unimaginably terrifying for the children.”

Belinda Feek is an Open Justice reporter based in Waikato. She has worked at NZME for nine years and has been a journalist for 20.

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