’Savage assault’ on farm focus of trial

File photo.


Two men allegedly rubbed cow dung and gravel in another man's eyes - almost blinding him - as retribution for allegations of domestic violence, a court has heard.

Elisha Jack Cramond, 26, appeared at the beginning of a four day trial on Monday at the Hamilton District Court facing charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, sexual violation, assault with a weapon, injuring with intent to injure, threatening to kill, and perverting the course of justice.

His co-defendant Michael Sam Torrington, 28, is charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and sexual violation.

All of the charges arise from an incident at Torrington's home on a farm in Kerepehi on August 28 last year, with the allegations of the "savage assault" laid out by Crown prosecutor Heidi Wrigley in stark detail.

The two men's main victim was staying at the house with his partner.

The couple had ended up there after their car had crashed and broken down nearby. They - but not the victim - had been drinking some time before things took a violent turn, following revelations of alleged domestic violence in the couple's history. 

The assault began in the lounge of the house. The male victim then ran from the house and through the surrounding paddocks, but was chased down by Cramond in a car.

As the alleged victim himself told the court when giving evidence, "I was running for my life".

"The Mercedes came flying through the gate and into the paddock. It hit water and bottomed out. It got stuck."

The car became bogged down in some mud, however Cramond caught up with the man on a farm race where, joined by Torrington, the main assault allegedly occurred.

As Wrigley told the jury, the man had his head repeatedly kicked and stomped on. He was strangled, had his finger severely bitten by Torrington, and his genitals were stomped on.

It is also alleged that the man was sexually assaulted by at least one of the pair, with either fingers or some kind of object being forced into his anus.

"I was being held up by my pants. I remember a hand going into my pants. I woke up with a gut feeling that something had happened to me.

"I did hear them saying they were going to rape me and rape my missus."

Cramond had also told him "that I was a woman beater and I was going to get my come-uppance".

The man said he had been lying in the fetal position, trying to protect his face and head.

"I remember receiving a lot of kicks that night. Kick after kick after kick."

Cow dung was being rubbed in his face and, at times, jammed into his mouth by the pair. Gravel and dung was also being rubbed into his eyes.

He also had a vague recollection of hands being around his throat, choking him.

He said he believed he lost consciousness multiple times, and that he thought he was under attack for about two hours.

"I remember laying there and thinking, these are my days. I'm done. I'm gone."

The beaten man's partner called 111 but soon had her phone snatched away by one of the men. She also at one point lay across him to protect him from the pair, but was dragged away by Cramond who forced her to the ground and then pushed her head into a pool of water.

She managed to get away and ran to the house, where she hid in a wardrobe and armed herself with some knives.

The beaten man suffered a broken nose, bleeding on his brain and severe damage to his right eye, which will have to be removed.

Since the incident he has also suffered from short term memory loss. He told the court he believed his lack of recollection might be due to some kind of subconscious coping mechanism.

As Wrigley told the jury, Torrington and Cramond had formed "a common plan to hurt [the man] really badly".

"This was a brutal and humiliating attack that was intended to break [him]."

The alleged assault ended after police arrived at the property.

However, before they got to the house, Cramond tracked down the woman hiding inside and allegedly threatened her with a pair of pliers, telling her not to talk to the police.

Ann-Marie Beveridge is acting for Cramond, while Martin Hine is Torrington's counsel. The trial, before a jury of eight women and four men, is being overseen by Judge Kim Saunders.

-Stuff/Mike Mather.


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