May 18, 2024
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By Erin Cox

Dunedin’s daughter vandalized her mother’s house with offensive pictures and gang symbols hours before a mysterious fire partially destroyed it.

Courtney Paige Findlater (23), appeared before Dunedin District Court Judge Jim Large, this week. She was facing 12 charges of offending in a period of two years.

Findlater and a cooffender broke into the home of her mother in the early morning hours on May 31, 2021.

There were many tools in the house, which was being renovated extensively.

Court documents stated that the pair used paint cans to mark various walls with “gang symbolism, offensive words and drawings”.

The paint was sprayed in the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom, which caused significant damage.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand was called to the scene at 4 am.

The charges against the duo have been withdrawn.

Karlena Lauren, a lawyer at the time of the fire’s ignition, said: “There are no evidences as to who or how it was started.”

A fire in the building destroyed 6075 dollars worth of tools, and the owner sought compensation to cover any damage.

The judge said that the offending was spreading across the nation at a rapid rate.

Findlater pleaded also guilty to an array of fraudulent Facebook Marketplace activities. She repeatedly advertised items for sale and took money, then blocked her victims.

The judge stated that “that really gets to the core of the people’s confidence these days.”

Ms Lawrence stated that Findlater “was clearly a vulnerable young person”, whose crime was primarily motivated by money.

She said, “They did not have the guidance of a parent figure who would have helped them make better decisions.”

Findlater received a nine-month home detention sentence and was ordered to pay $4360 in reparation to the damage to her house and for dishonesty.

The co-offender’s sentence will come later in the month.

The judge stated that “there is an urgent need to deter and protect the community.”

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