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Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Cricket bat killer jailed for 11 years

Christopher Gleeson. Photo / pool
Christopher Gleeson. Photo / pool

A 25-year-old who murdered his defacto step-dad by bludgeoning him to death with his cricket bat - and then played cricket the next day - has been given a life sentence with a non-parole period of 11 years and four months.

Christopher Gleeson killed 65-year-old Christchurch pensioner Ken Moore on January 6 this year after a row in what a judge described today as a "brutal" murder.

The younger man stormed away to "cool off" but he returned hours later, armed with his cricket bat and an intent to make his father figure pay for "making me suffer over the last 12 months".

The High Court at Christchurch was packed today with members of Moore's family.

Gleeson, dressed in plain grey T-shirt, heard a series of harrowing victim impact statements from Mr Moore's family.

His younger sister, Sue Carswell, addressed Gleeson directly in the dock. He held eye contact with her, his eyes welling as she told him that he had plunged her into a "world of shock, pain and grief".

"In killing Ken, Chris Gleeson committed the ultimate act of betrayal and violation of the people who nurtured and encouraged him like a good father should," she said.

She told him that Mr Moore "loved him dearly" and "loyally supported you for more than 20 year and genuinely wanted to be a father to you."

Mrs Carswell said: "In the early evening of January 6, Ken was at my place doing what he loved doing most - playing backyard cricket with his two little nephews and it was the happiest I'd seen him for some time.

"I'm haunted by the brutality of my brother's death and the manner he was treated after he died. I have to carry this tragic burden with me for the rest of my life."

His son Marcus told Gleeson that he felt a "great anger and hatred" towards him.

Alan Moore said his brother's kindness eventually "cost him his life."

"We all have a mortgage of sadness that we are paying off with pain. We are emotionally scarred for life. This is the legacy you have left us."

Another brother, David, added: "Even the game of cricket brings out feelings of disgust."

Mr Moore's eldest daughter Diane Christie said: "Dad's passion was cricket, and to have his life taken by a cricket bat was an act that has affected us deeply."

The court was earlier told that Gleeson, who pleaded guilty, had argued with Mr Moore in his garage and followed him inside the Waltham home where he hit him on the side of his head three times with the cricket bat.

Mr Moore fell face-first on the ground before Gleeson delivered a final blow to his head.

Gleeson sat in a chair in the lounge for half an hour before stealing the dead man's 50-inch plasma TV, eftpos card and telephone, Christchurch District Court was told.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Lisa Goodson said Gleeson did not administer first aid or seek medical assistance to the man he "often referred to as his dad," but instead surfed the internet before leaving with the victim's car.

He unsuccessfully tried to withdraw cash from an ATM using Mr Moore's eftpos card, before returning to his Upper Riccarton home, putting the large TV in his lounge and getting into bed.

The next morning, he returned to the murder scene to find his stepdad dead.

Gleeson then drove to Howzat cricket centre in Christchurch where he dumped his "bloodied" cricket bat, and again tried to withdraw cash using the stolen eftpos card, without success.

Then, he turned out for his club cricket team where he told team-mates that his dad was "ill and unhealthy" and "unlikely to survive the weekend."

The next day, Sunday January 8, he took the battery out of the stolen car, dumped it in Wilsons Rd, Christchurch, and walked back to the dead man's home with the battery, and put it in Mr Moore's second car.

Gleeson, whose occupation was given as being a manager, then phoned St John ambulance to say that he'd just arrived and found Mr Moore dead on the ground, bleeding from his head.

A homicide investigation was launched but within hours police had spoken to Gleeson, who admitted the murder.

He told police he had become "so angry in the way the victim had treated him over the last year," a police statement of facts said.

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Moore had died from severe head injuries.

Today, defence counsel Craig Ruane said it was "very difficult to understand" why Gleeson carried out the extreme violent act.

"He still can't explain why he did what he did other than that he wanted to make him pay."

Mr Ruane says his client told him he had "zoned out" during the attack.

"It might seem an odd sort of explanation but that's all he can say."

Judge Christian Whata asked if there had been attempts at establishing a "medical understanding" for what had happened, but Mr Ruane said nothing could explain his actions.

He added that Gleeson's life had "become unstuck" in the months leading up to the murder, but still could not "provide any explanation."

Mr Ruane said Gleeson had expressed remorse and asked for the minimum sentence of 10 years to be considered.

After taking five minutes to consider his verdict, Judge Whata described it as a "brutal murder" and sentenced Gleeson to 11 years and four months in prison.

"As a skilled and accomplished cricket, I have no doubt you knew how to use a cricket bat to telling and shocking effect," he said.

Outside court, Mr Moore's eldest daughter Diane Christie read out a statement on behalf of the family.

"Our dad Ken was an extremely precious person to us all and our family is utterly devastated and angry that his life has been taken in such a horrific way.

"The sentence handed out today will never be adequate enough to make up for the awful damage and distress caused to us all.

"Our dad was a wonderful father figure to Christopher Gleeson, who betrayed that trust and love by murdering him. We will never be able to understand that.

"We were prevented from what we really wanted to in court today. Dad's death was extremely brutal and he was treated with appalling disrespect by Christopher after he died.

"Our family will not be defeated by this violence and we will continue to honour dad's memory by focussing on the positive things in life and looking after each other, especially our children.

"We are very grateful to the Christchurch Police for their outstanding work and support.

"And we also want to send out our heartfelt thanks to the many people who have supported our family during this tough time.''

- APNZ

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