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Man jailed for teen's abduction, road trip

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/05/2017
Dean Whakatau © NZ Police Dean Whakatau

The man who admitted abducting a teenager and taking her on a 16-day road trip from Auckland to the Bay of Plenty nearly two years ago has been jailed for more than five years.

Dean Wayne Whakatau, 39, was sentenced to five years and two months' jail when he appeared in Rotorua District Court on Thursday.

The suppression order that had been in force to protect his victim was lifted with her agreement, despite Judge Maree Mackenzie's concerns the then 15-year-old could be identified after both their names were widely published at the time.

Whakatau initially claimed the teen had willingly accompanied him and was happy to be his sexual partner, but as a 10-day trial was reaching its closing stages in March he admitted charges of abduction, sexual connection with a young person and receiving.

Trial evidence outlined how he took the teen from her boyfriend's south Auckland home and drove her to Maraetai and then Taupo.

In Rotorua the girl managed to contact her family via Facebook, which led to her family trying to track her down to a house there, only to face someone brandishing a weapon.

Whakatau and the girl were eventually found at a remote property at Cape Runaway.

Judge Mackenzie said Whakatau's history of criminal offending, which included charges of threatening to kill and use of weapon meant the community must be protected from him for a significant period.

She also noted the victim's vulnerability.

"She was unable to leave you, she was totally reliant on you for money and had no means to transport [to escape]."

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