Woman jailed for violent invasion of elderly Christchurch couple's home
Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/news/109965268/-

2019-01-16 01:34:00

A woman jailed for the home invasion robbery of an elderly Christchurch couple said she would support the Mongrel Mob "until the day I die".

Shantai Lawson, 38, was jailed for five years and nine months by Christchurch District Court Judge Paul Kellar after admitting the August 13 robbery of the couple in their Papanui home.

Two women – co-offender Maera Elizabeth Todd, 39, has already been jailed for seven years four months – had targeted John McCammon, 83, because they thought he was vulnerable and would have money.

When they barged into the home, Todd held him down and held a cushion over his face, then threatened to cut him with the garden secateurs he had been using.

"I thought I was going to be killed," the man told the court on Wednesday as he read his victim impact statement.

His wife, Colleen McCammon, 81, was pushed down the front steps, landing on her back on the concrete path, when she arrived home during the robbery.

Todd carried out the violence and both victims were found nearby with a cellphone, wallet, watch and a black bag containing other items taken. Todd still had the secateurs she had picked up and used to threaten the man, in her trouser pocket.

Both pleaded guilty, and Lawson also admitted on Wednesday that she had also used a bank card stolen from a Rotorua victim to "pay-wave" several purchases totalling $242, about three weeks before the robbery.

Crown prosecutor Sean Mallett said Lawson had 13 pages listing her criminal history. She was assessed as being a high risk of reoffending and causing harm to others, but the risk of harm rose to "very high" if she was confronted or surprised while offending.

Defence counsel Pip Hall QC said Lawson had been involved and accepted responsibility but she had not carried out the violence. He described her letters of apology to the victims and the judge as being "rather eloquent".

"There is a genuineness about it," he said.

Judge Kellar said the couple had courageously read their victim impact statements in court, telling of the deep psychological impact of the home invasion attack in a heritage house where they had lived for 31 years. They said they no longer felt safe living there, but found they were unable to move.

They hoped Lawson would go through rehabilitation in prison. "This is your chance to turn your life around," the woman said. "Please don't do this to anyone else."

But Judge Kellar said Lawson had told the probation officer at her pre-sentence interview that she would "support the Mongrel Mob until the day I die".

Her own life had not been easy. She had been brought up by her grandparents. She had children aged 20 and 7, who had lived in alternative care since they were young. Lawson had "lived in an environment with gang connections".

Since 1997, she had 47 convictions for thefts and other dishonesty, 14 convictions for violence, 30 for breaches of court orders or sentences, and had served eight jail terms. She tended to reoffend soon after release.

He dismissed her letters of apology. "I suspect you have said all of these things in the past."

He jailed Lawson for five years nine months and made no order for reparation – it was a forlorn hope.

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