Crown says man accused of kidnapping, assaulting young woman in Auckland quarry has 'dark, sinister side'

A man who attacked a woman wearing a white mask and holding a baseball bat was usually a law abiding citizen, but in the black of night he lets his dark side loose, a prosecutor has told an Auckland court.

Colin Jack Mitchell, 59, has denied any involvement in the attack, which allegedly took place in February last year at a quarry in Riverhead, on Auckland's outskirts.

He pleaded not guilty to three charges, including abduction, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and assault with intent to commit sexual violation.

Today, prosecutor Kirsten Lummis told a High Court at Auckland jury how Mitchell lived alone in Onehunga and had been a truck driver with the same company for 20 years.

He was also a keen helper at his local Returned Services Association for ex-soldiers.

But he also has "a dark sinister side that only comes out in the black of night", she said.

He turns into a prowler, attacked the woman "to exert control, to overpower and to dominate" her, she said.

The ordeal began along Great North Road.

Having been drinking with friends in Ponsonby and Karangahape Road, the woman had afterwards been turned away from a bar because she was too drunk.

Security camera footage obtained by police showed her then walking home along Great North Road.

At the same time a silver Ford Mondeo belonging to Mitchell passed her on Great North Road before circling back, Ms Lummis said.

She said while there was no footage showing the moment the woman got into the car, Mitchell either offered her a ride or pulled her inside, before driving to a quarry in Riverhead.

Possibly sleeping, the woman had no memory of the journey and instead recalls a sudden jolting hit on her head and waking to see a man in a white mask standing over her, telling her to turn around, Ms Lummis said.

Her clothes had already been removed.

Refusing to turn around, the woman tried to talk Mitchell out of the attack, saying "you don't have to be this person", Ms Lummis said.

He continued to threaten her and called her a "stupid bitch", before she scrambled free, calling 111.

At the same time, Mitchell's car can be on security camera footage fleeing the quarry, Ms Lummis said.

With the woman not knowing where she was or who had attacked her, what followed was an hour of panic before the police could come to her aid, Ms Lummis said.

She said Mitchell was arrested about three weeks later, having been linked to the crime by his car and DNA evidence found on a glove at the crime scene.

Defence lawyer said Mark Ryan said Mitchell did not commit the crime and urged the jury to reserve judgement until they had heard all the evidence.

The trial continues.

Colin Mitchell was described as a prowler as the Crown laid out its case against him. Source: 1 NEWS



Do you know them? Hammer, bat and knife wielding robbers make off with goods from Hamilton dairy

Four people are being sought by police after the aggravated robbery of a Hamilton dairy early this morning.

Three people were captured on the store's CCTV each brandishing a different weapon, with one carrying a large knife, another a baseball bat and the third wielding a hammer.

Police say the robbers arrived at the Deanwell Superette around 7am in a stolen red Mazda Demio driven by a fourth person.

The store manager saw them arrive and locked himself in a back room, leaving the trio to steal a large number of cigarettes and other items.

The four fled the scene in the stolen vehicle which has since been recovered.

Anyone who has information that might help is being urged to contact Detective Sergeant Andre Kavanagh on 07 858 6200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Three men wanted by police for the robbery of a Hamilton superette.
Three men wanted by police for the robbery of a Hamilton superette. Source: New Zealand Police

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Vodafone providing free calls, texts to cyclone-hit Tonga, launches text donations

Telco Vodafone is providing free calls and texts to cyclone-ravaged Tonga for 48 hours and enabling text donations to a Red Cross Pacific Disaster Fund.

Vodafone Consumer Director Matt Williams says with Cyclone Gita being labelled the worst storm to hit Tonga in 60 years, it's important for the company to open up the lines.

He says with reports of widespread devastation, Vodafone doesn't want people with family and friends in Tonga worrying about how they have fared, so is making it as easy as possible for them to get in touch. 

From 5pm this evening, all calls and texts to Tonga will be free for 48 hours for all Vodafone customers. 

That includes all Vodafone mobile plans such as prepay, as well as business customers and home phones.

Call and text credits will be automatically applied to customers' accounts on the next plan cycle, Mr Williams said.

"We'd recommend texting for the time being, as this is a lighter load for networks to manage," he said.

Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation has moved to set up a Red Cross Pacific Disaster Fund text to donate campaign, to get aid to the region as quickly as possible.

Cyclone Gita hit Tonga overnight leaving widespread destruction including flooding and power outages. Source: 1 NEWS

Texting RED CROSS to 4644 will enable an automatic $3 donation to the Red Cross Pacific Disaster Fund, regardless of which mobile provider you are with. 

The Vodafone Foundation says its text to donate campaign will see 100 per cent of all money donated go directly to the disaster response. 

Follow 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of Cyclone Gita.

Kathryn Dalziel says you should only use your cellphone in a meeting when conducting business.
Source: Breakfast