Two Riverina people who kidnapped a man, held him hostage and viciously assaulted him in an ordeal lasting at least 24 hours have been jailed.
Nikia Bamblett, 24, of Henty, was jailed for eight years and three months with a non-parole period of five years and three months.
Hunter Green, 30, also of Henty, was jailed for nine years and six months with a non-parole period of six years and six months.
The offenders, who had pleaded guilty to charges of one count each of domestic-related special aggravated kidnapping and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at an earlier hearing, appeared in Wagga District Court on Thursday for sentencing.
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In his sentencing remarks, Judge Gordon Lerve said: “It almost beggars belief that human beings would treat another as the two offenders treated the victim in this matter.”
“The violence was extreme and continued for a considerable period of time,” Judge Lerve said. “What happened to the victim bordered on torture.”
The incident occurred on September 18, 2017 when the offenders became suspicious the victim, who had moved into the Henty home several months earlier, was stealing from them.
That morning, the court heard, the offenders confronted the victim who denied any knowledge of the missing items.
An argument ensued and the victim was forced into a room where the offenders kicked and punched him.
The offenders then tied the victim to a chair before assaulting him during the day and demanded information about the items.
The offenders also threatened to drown the victim in a bathtub.
It almost beggars belief that human beings would treat another as the two offenders treated the victim in this matter.Judge Gordon Lerve
The next day, police attended the house but the victim, who was untied, washed and redressed by Green, declined to comment.
The victim had his back to police in a semi-dark room and his face could not be seen. Police left without further investigation.
Later that day, Green and her brother drove the victim to Wagga Base Hospital.
On September 20, the victim underwent surgery before being airlifted to St George Hospital in Sydney where he underwent two more procedures for significant head injuries.
He was in intensive care unit for five days and the left side of his face was left paralysed.
Medical staff indicated the injuries were potentially lethal because they put the victim at risk of asphyxiation.
The matter was reported to Wagga Police and the offenders were arrested in October and November 2017.
'Extreme' violence: judge
In sentencing the duo, Judge Gordon Lerve said the victim would have ongoing injuries from the assault, including difficulties using his left cheek when eating.
“The permanent injuries include nerve damage to his face, the results of which are that his mouth droops, he drools and cannot fully close one eye,” he said.
“The assault involved a very severe application of force.”
Judge Lerve also read out a passage of the victim’s impact statement:
“The biggest issue I face since this incident happened is lack of trust with people and facing the outside world. I struggle in crowds of people, I feel on edge and grumpy. I don’t like people coming up behind me — it scares me the most and I worry I might lash out and hit the person behind me.”
Bamblett and Green were supported by their families in court on Thursday. Bamblett will be eligible for release in February 2023, while Green will be eligible in July 2024.
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