A rising rugby league star and two team-mates have been sentenced to prison for trying to kill an unborn baby.
Shaun Williams-Metcalf, 16, was sentenced to 18 months' jail after he took his friends, Geoffrey Ruaporo and Kyle Donovan, to a park to repeatedly kick his 15-year-old ex-girlfriend in the stomach to procure an abortion.
Ruaporo was sentenced to 18 months' jail while Donovan, who tried to stop the attack, received a prison term of 15 months.
The New Zealand Warriors released a statement saying the trio's contracts had been terminated.
The club said it first learnt of the police investigation several months ago, but could take no action until police inquiries and the court process were complete.
The August 2003 attack was "a tragedy for all involved", the club said, and efforts were being made to convey the club's concern and sympathy to the woman and her family.
The trio appeared in Manukau District Court yesterday for sentencing after earlier pleading guilty to procuring an abortion, aggravated robbery and injuring with intent to injure.
The offenders, all aged 16 at the time of the offending, have been granted leave to apply for home detention.
Before he delivered the sentence, Judge Andrew Becroft called the offending planned, callous and "extremely serious".
The mother of the child, who has name suppression, had a brief relationship with Williams-Metcalf.
She was five months pregnant when Williams-Metcalf and Ruaporo made plans for the attempted miscarriage from Ruaporo's home on August 8 last year.
That evening, the defendants went to House Park, Mangere, where Williams-Metcalf had arranged to meet the victim to discussed the unwanted pregnancy.
When she arrived, a disguised Williams-Metcalf unsuccessfully tried to open her car door.
She drove away, then later returned after contacting Williams-Metcalf by cellphone.
At that stage, either Ruaporo, who was also in disguise, or Williams-Metcalf used a rock to smash the driver's door window. They dragged her from the car, pulled the keys from the ignition, punched her around the head and kicked her in the stomach.
Donovan appeared from the car and took her cellphone before trying to stop the attack.
The trio then ran away.
The woman, left lying bleeding with cuts and bruises in the dark, called for help and received medical attention at Middlemore Hospital.
Prosecutor Kevin Glubb said it was "good luck rather than good management" that the woman's five-month-old daughter was healthy.
The court was told the attack had thrown her confidence and ever since she had been reluctant to go out or be left alone.
The youths had not previously offended and had glowing references, including those from New Zealand Warriors coach Daniel Anderson and former New Zealand coach Frank Endacott.
Ruaporo had been described as an outstanding student and leader at his school and Judge Becroft said it could be "hard to conceive of better references".
"If you are the young men the references say you are, I hope you confront the prison sentence with courage," he said.
Outside court the woman and her parents said they were happy the youths had been sentenced to prison and were glad the ordeal had ended.
Her mother said the baby was "gorgeous