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New Zealand kickboxer Hayden Todd, 37, has been sentenced for a number of sex and violence offences. Photo/Supplied
A New Zealand professional kickboxer who was granted a bail exemption to travel to Australia in May to headline a fight night after pleading guilty to sex and violent offences has today been sentenced to three years in prison.
In handing down his sentence in the Auckland District Court, Judge Steve Bonnar said of the defendant Hayden Todd: “The facts of your offending are disturbing”.
Todd pleaded guilty to charges including sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection with a female older than 16, assault on a female, strangulation and suffocation and injuring with intent to injure.
Bonnar said after reading an account of Todd’s numerous offences against his victim that you can “see how serious and disgraceful” the offending was.
The judge noted that Todd was a professional kickboxer with 50 professional fights and had “significant physical superiority” over the victim.
Bonnar said in sentencing Todd that he had to “hold you accountable for the significant harm you have caused the victim”.
As part of his offending against his victim – which ran from January 2018 to August 2019 – Todd punched her in the head and gave her a concussion. Todd subsequently tried to convince her she was just hungover.
The victim could not walk properly for a week subsequently, and could not read for months, after she was eventually taken to hospital.
The victim said to Todd following the assault that he had “almost killed” her.
Judge Bonnar described Todd’s two strangulation offences as “potentially lethal”.
Todd’s defence lawyer John Munro said his rehabilitation courses for living without violence, anger and alcohol were the “greatest effort I’ve seen in the courts”.
Munro said Todd had been abstinent from alcohol for three years now and that “alcohol was at the core of [Todd’s] offending”.
Munro was arguing to get Todd’s sentence under the two-year threshold. He was asking for top-end home detention plus community service.
Munro said Todd had “addressed his demons”.
Todd was scheduled to appear in court in August for sentencing after earlier pleading guilty.
However, Todd’s sentencing had been delayed several times, including when he was granted a bail exemption to travel to Australia, where he headlined a fight in May.
Todd faced charges for sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection with a female older than 16, assault on a female, strangulation and suffocation and injuring with intent to injure.
The bail exemption was granted in the Auckland District Court by Judge Muir in May.
At the time, a family spokesperson for the victim told the Herald on Sunday they all felt “really let down by the court process”.
“I’m absolutely dumbfounded that it could even happen. Dumbfounded that his lawyers could even think that it’s a possibility,” the spokesperson said.
“I get lost for words about it because it makes me so angry, and so disappointed in the system. We encouraged [the victim] to put her trust in the justice system and I don’t feel she’s got justice at all.
“You think you’re starting to come right and then something like this hits you all again.”
Todd’s lawyer John Munro refused to comment when approached by the Herald on Sunday.
The spokesperson for the victim’s family said the legal process has been an ordeal that has caused “nightmares”.
“The whole thing has been so drawn out that the defence have been able to delay, delay, delay with no consequences to Hayden.
“[The victim] is the one who’s having to deal with the trauma of it all being brought up again, brought up again, and he’s flying off to Australia. It just pisses me off to be frank.
“It’s been really stressful, and financially as well, I mean the support that she’s had to have, she’s needed from all the members of her family, friends.
“There’s been a lot of people that have been fighting for her but there’s not been any resolution though the courts. I don’t sleep, I have nightmares still, and we can’t leave it behind us because we haven’t had a resolution.”
Todd has fought in numerous kickboxing events since he was charged.
Last August, he fought in the King in the Ring 8 Man Series that was broadcast on TVNZ Duke.