A Whangarei man with physical disability was repeatedly struck on the head with a weapon and left to die outside his home while his attackers sprayed graffiti on his property and ran off with his belongings.
The gruesome details of Michael Patrick Griffin's killing were revealed at the High Court in Whangarei yesterday when two young men responsible for his death appeared for sentencing.
Elias Pomare, 18, who earlier pleaded guilty to murder, received a mandatory life sentence for the charge with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years, while Shayden Perkinson, 18, received a term of three years and two months after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Due to the different charges, Justice Edwin Wylie had to read from two summaries of fact.
Griffin was attacked by Pomare sometime on the afternoon of October 4, 2014 but he was discovered at the rear of his Second Ave home with serious head injuries until about 8am the next day. The 56-year-old father of three was rushed to Whangarei Hospital but died about 8.45pm that day.
Justice Wylie said the reason for the attack on Mr Griffin, who had a paralysed left arm and could not bend his left leg, would never be known because neither of the two men offered any explanation for their actions. Even the weapon used could not be identified.
Justice Wylie said both arrived at Mr Griffin's home and for some reason, Pomare struck him on his head a number of times, which resulted in three skull fractures. Perkinson was with Pomare but did not take part in the attack.
After the attack, both ransacked and damaged his house, and sprayed the walls with orange graffiti, before taking two pushbikes and a laptop computer.
Pomare blamed his offending on fetal alcohol syndrome and said he attacked Mr Griffin because he felt threatened by him. His lawyer Lucy Postlewaight read a letter of apology he wrote to Mr Griffin's family, who were present in court. Justice Wylie said there was a high degree of brutality and callousness and a man was not only beaten to death in his own home but his home was ransacked, sprayed with graffiti, and his items were stolen.
"You were callous in the extreme," the judge said.
It was in effect a home invasion and Pomare's young age could not weigh in his favour when one considered the savagery of his offending, he said.
Victim impact statements were filed but not read in court by Mr Griffin's sons, brother and sister, who all were most distressed by the fact a man with a physical disability was attacked and left to die. His sister had to clean the graffiti and thought Pomare had no remorse.
Justice Wylie said Perkinson chose to go to Mr Griffin's home despite knowing Pomare was likely to be violent towards the homeowner.