A young woman subjected to repeated rapes by a man who treated her like his “sex slave” said he had made her life “a living hell”.
The victim made this comment while reading her victim impact statement in Tauranga District Court today during the sentencing hearing for 63-year-old Pihi Hei.
In May, a jury found Hei guilty of 14 charges of indecent assault, one charge of inducing an indecent assault, four charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, five counts of sexual violation by rape, and disabling by stupefying. He was today sentenced to 16 years in prison.
The charges relate to offending against two women who had responded to job advertisements at the remote Maraehako Bay Retreat between Te Kaha and Waihau Bay in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
The second complainant chose to read her victim impact statement in court and gave evidence that she was treated like a “sex slave” by Hei.
The court heard the first rape happened in a motel. He continued to abuse her after arriving at the retreat and forced her to drink alcohol, which left her feeling drugged for about a day-and-a-half.
“You’ve made my life a living hell. I suffer from eating disorders, anxiety and depression. What you did to me has impacted on me physically, emotionally and psychologically.”
She said she had lost her job, her “positive outlook” on life and some of her friends, and the love of her family over her decision to speak out about the rapes.
She had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered nightmares.
“While I have tried to move on and put this behind me, the hell you have put me through has constantly been going through my head over and over again.”
The second complainant said she had also lost her ability to trust people, particularly men, and was constantly “looking over her shoulder”.
However, despite her ordeal, she was determined to give evidence against Hei to hold him to account and ensure others did not suffer like she had.
Crown prosecutor Heidi Wrigley called for Hei’s sentence to include a non-parole period that would encompass half his sentence.
Hei’s lawyer Russell Fairbrother argued a minimum non-parole period was not warranted despite Hei maintaining his innocence as he had good rehabilitation prospects.
She said Hei’s offending against these victims was premeditated and “callous” predatory behaviour that caused substantial harm to his victims.
Judge Thomas Ingram said despite Hei’s denials he agreed entirely with the jury’s verdicts.
The judge said given the scale and gravity of the offending and the extent of the harm caused to the victims that a minimum non-period of nine years was justified.
Where to get help:
• If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
• If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on: 0800 044 334 or text 4334.
• Alternatively contact your local police station
• If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.
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