Jasmine Blake sentenced for kidnapping two men during Covid 19 lockdown

A woman who kidnapped two men, threatened to kill both of them and forced one to drive from Cambridge to Rotorua before robbing him, has been sentenced.

Jasmine Blake, 35, previously pleaded guilty to two charges of kidnapping and one charge of robbery and was today sentenced in the Rotorua District Court to nine months’ home detention to be served at a rehabilitation facility.

A further six months’ post-detention conditions were imposed and she was ordered to pay $400 in reparation to her second victim.

The charges relate to a series of incidents that happened last April while the country was in level 4 lockdown.

According to the summary of facts, Blake’s offending began at 6.28pm on April 7 when, in the Countdown Supermarket carpark, the Cambridge woman got into the car of a 23-year-old truck driver and told him to “just f****** drive, just drive”.

The man drove a short distance before Blake said “I’ll stab you if you don’t drive” raising her hand to chest-height as though she were holding something.

Appearing to be in an agitated state, Blake also yelled: “Do you know what I have in my hand? Just drive if you want to live.”

The man feared for his life and thought he might be stabbed if he didn’t do what Blake said, the summary stated.

When Blake, who had been muttering to herself, appeared distracted, the man stopped the car and escaped, taking the keys with him.

As he got out of the car Blake struck out with her right hand but the blow did not connect.

Walking a short distance away, the man began yelling at Blake to get out of his car which she did, putting something back into her handbag as she went.

Walking down an alleyway off of Lake St, Blake encountered her second victim, a 66-year-old businessman.

The man was getting ready to drive home when Blake opened the passenger door of his car and got in.

Once the man realised he didn’t know Blake, he told her she was in the wrong car.

Blake told him “it’s not a good day to die” and demanded he drive her to the highway.

The man, fearing violence, began driving towards the Cambridge Police Station when Blake told him she had a gun and a knife.

The man saw the knife which was partially concealed up her sleeve.

When the man drove Blake to the highway she became more aggressive and irritated, instructing him to continue driving on to Rotorua.

The man did as he was told as Blake continued to tell him she had a gun. He tried to engage her in conversation to keep her calm but avoided eye contact so to “avoid aggravating her”.

Blake demanded the man’s cellphone and password, and at one point told him he was lucky because she could have stabbed him and taken his car.

Blake also vomited in the car on the journey.

Upon reaching Rotorua, Blake demanded money from the man, directing him to an ATM on Pukuatua St.

The man withdrew $350 and gave it to her but Blake demanded more. The man tried to withdraw more money but his card declined.

He then withdrew a further $50 from another account which he gave Blake.

She then ordered him to drive her to a Tarewa Rd bus stop where she got out, taking the man’s phone and money.

When spoken to by police, Blake said she had arranged to meet her second victim on Tinder before finding out he had a wife, at which point she blackmailed him for the money.

In sentencing her, Judge Tony Snell noted Blake’s cultural report was “one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time”.

He said Blake has suffered an “unusual” amount of trauma in her life and had turned to significant drug use to dull that trauma.

He described the sentence as “favourable” for Blake and warned her not to squander it.

“I am trying to give you a chance to turn your life around and you have expressed a strong willingness to do so. With this sentence, I hope you can get the help you need.”

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