A “narcissistic, legitimate” winery worker is jailed after claiming the woman he raped on the floor of a gas station was “desperate” to have sex with him
- Melota Metuala was sentenced to eight years and 10 months for raping a woman
- The 24-year-old claimed the then 51-year-old woman wanted to pay him for sex
- The Samoan man was working in New Zealand when he was arrested for rape
A vineyard worker who claimed a woman he raped was “desperate” for his attention was jailed after a judge blasted him for his “narcissistic, justified” attitude.
Melota Metuala, 24, was found guilty of rape by a jury in June and sentenced to eight years and 10 months in prison on Wednesday.
At New Zealand’s Nelson District Court, Judge David Ruth delivered his verdict on Wednesday, describing Metuala, who was working in the country’s world-famous Marlborough region at the time he committed the crime, as having “narcissistic, legitimate behavior towards women”.
At the time of the attack, Metuala was finishing his second season at Marlborough Winery and was planning to return to Western Samoa.
In September 2019, Metuala was near a nightclub in Blenheim when he spotted a woman who appeared to have stumbled out of a taxi and joined a group of women.
Melota Metuala, 24, was found guilty of raping a woman he claimed was “happy with his progress” and sentenced to eight years and 10 months behind bars (stock image)
The vineyard worker attacked the woman at a gas station in Blenheim
CCTV footage from Marlborough District Council showed Metuala putting his arm around the woman’s shoulders and leading her to a nearby road in the early hours of September 14.
Concerned about the unwanted attention, the then 51-year-old woman walked towards an area near the police station, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Realizing the woman wanted help from the police, Metuala “picked up” and waited for her at a nearby BP gas station.
Judge Ruth told the court it appeared Metuala chose to have some sort of sexual encounter with the woman.
“When you saw the police not following you, you struck, and what ensued was humiliating and degrading sexual abuse,” Justice Ruth said.
Police said the 51-year-old was mugged after she left the police station and went to a gas station to buy groceries and cigarettes.
Metuala spoke to the woman before grabbing the back of her head and throwing her to the ground.
He then violently dragged the woman across the floor while attempting to undress her.
Metuala then raped her in the gas station forecourt.
Metuala’s lawyer told the court his client believed he did not force the woman to have sex with him.
Judge Ruth said Metuala’s evidence at trial was designed to blame the victim, describing her as a “desperate, middle-aged drunk woman” who was willing to pay to have sex with her attacker.
He went on to say the jury rejected his “unbelievable and untrue narrative” that he was under the influence of alcohol and had no recollection of the incident.
Metuala raped the then 51-year-old woman on September 14, 2019 in the forecourt of a BP gas station in Blenheim, New Zealand (pictured).
Metuala showed no remorse for his crime but apologized for harming the woman.
Although she was acquitted of the strangulation charge, Judge Ruth said the bruises on the victim’s neck and the fact that she lost her voice immediately after the attack was enough evidence to consider it in sentencing.
‘Although you weren’t convicted of strangulation, I’m sure you were. It’s a significant aggravating factor as it’s often used to gain control and quell any resistance,” Justice Ruth said.
During his time on bail from December 2019 to June this year, Metuala was able to live and work relatively freely and met his partner, with whom he is expecting his first child.
Metuala’s 10-year sentence was reduced to 8 years and 10 months as he was being served on electronic bail.
Metuala was nearing the end of his second season in the Marlborough vineyards (pictured) before driving home to western Samoa when he attacked the woman