by Craig Dunlop, NT News
A BLIND, hearing-impaired woman overdue for medical treatment was abandoned in the desert south of Alice Springs without food or water in a "particularly callous" crime committed by her boyfriend, the Supreme Court has heard.
Kenneth Mututa, then 53, was jailed for two years and six months after pleading guilty to failing to provide the woman, 36, with the necessities of life, as well as two aggravated assaults committed before in the hours before the woman was abandoned.
Justice Trevor Riley said Mututa's "heartless conduct" in November 2015 could easily have killed his girlfriend.
"Your conduct in leaving her there alone and completely vulnerable was particularly callous," he said.
Mututa's attacks on the woman began when he punched the woman in the face, cutting her lip and loosening her tooth, and continued with an indecent assault in a remote stretch of bushland south of Alice Springs.
Mututa then abandoned his victim, who suffers from end-stage renal failure and who was due for a dialysis appointment. A passing train woke the woman around late on the day she had been abandoned.
The woman, "lost, helpless and completely vulnerable" wandered towards the tracks, thinking they would lead her into town, but inadvertently turned south and began walking further into the outback.
A second passing train stopped to help the woman after nearly hitting her.
"It was mere good fortune that she was not killed or badly injured at that time," Justice Riley said. "Had the train not arrived, and the operators been so observant, she could easily have perished while walking south rather than north."
In a victim impact statement, the woman said she was "very scared when she was left alone" and no longer trusts people other than her family members.
Justice Riley said Mututa "must have known how helpless she would be in those circumstances".
Mututa, who has served 14 months behind bars since police tracked him down in South Australia's far north, will be eligible for parole in two months.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.