'A necessary response': Predator who abducted, bashed and sexually attacked Auckland woman to remain in jail after decades of offending

Colin Jack Mitchell has been sentenced to preventive detention and jailed indefinitely at Auckland High Court this morning for an attack on a woman at a quarry in Riverhead, Auckland, as well as offending in 1992.

Mitchell, 60, was found guilty in March on three charges over the sexually-motivated attack on a 23-year-old woman in February 2017, as well as a further three charges for offending in 1992.

"You appear for sentence today on six counts in respect of which you were unanimously convicted by a jury in March 2018," Justice Fitzgerald told the High Court at Auckland this morning.

"As you've heard there are three counts relating to offending you committed in 2017 - abduction with intent to have sexual connection, which has a maximum of 14 years imprisonment, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm which has a maximum of 14 years imprisonment and assault with intent to commit sexual violation which carries a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

"A further three counts relating to your offending in 1992, each of which carries a maximum of 14 years imprisonment under the Crimes Act, as it stood in 1992 - they are abduction with intent to have sexual intercourse, sexual violation through unlawful sexual connection, and rape.

"Not withstanding those maximum finite sentences, The Crown sees that an indefinite sentence of preventive detention is a necessary response to your offending."

Justice Fitzgerald said in summary that Mitchell's offending spanned decades and that combined with the fact that the minimum sentences for his crimes would put him in or around his early 70s upon his release, assuming the full term was served, he could still be healthy enough to be a danger to the community when released, leading to the sentence of preventive detention.

During the trial, the Crown said four strands of evidence pointed to Mitchell as the offender.

Those included cellphone records that put Mitchell in Riverhead at the time of the attack, CCTV footage capturing Mitchell's car in the city and entering the quarry, tyre tread marks left at the scene, and most importantly Mitchell's DNA found on gloves left at the scene.

The woman was picked up in Ponsonby and driven to Riverhead quarry, where she was bashed over the head and knocked out. After coming round, she described her desperate call to police once her attacker had gone.

"I just kept saying I'm whole body was covered in blood. I thought I was dying so I was saying this on the phone," she said.

"I was in shock that they couldn't find me cause I guess on the movies it seems like you call in and you're found."

She eventually made her way to the road where police were able to track her down.

Colin Jack Mitchell
Colin Jack Mitchell Source: 1 NEWS