Kapiti death accused makes brief court appearance

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Victim Sean Strongman-Lintern. Photo / supplied
Victim Sean Strongman-Lintern. Photo / supplied

Security was beefed up at a Porirua District Court today when a 24-year-old man charged with the murder of a young Kapiti man made a brief appearance.

Tristim Eastham, 24, a labourer from Porirua, entered no plea when he appeared in Porirua District Court today and he was remanded in custody to reappear on October 2.

Loud cries were heard from the court room where about 20 of Eastham's supporters gathered, including his partner.

Eastham, who was sporting a black eye during his brief appearance, is charged with the stabbing murder of Sean Strongman-Lintern, 20.

Mr Strongman-Lintern, a popular young rugby league player from the area, died after a fight outside the Kapiti Lights Complex early on Saturday morning.

Emergency services were alerted around 12.40am after reports of a fight near Monteiths Kapiti Junction bar.

Mr Strongman-Lintern died just before police reached the scene.

His body is lying at Whakarongotai Marae in Waikanae and will be taken to Whakapara Marae near Whangarei tomorrow for a tangi.

His death comes five weeks after 17-year-old Izak Millanta died near the same complex.

The men men knew each other, playing for the same league team, and Mr Strongman-Lintern reportedly tried to help Izak on the night of his death.

A 25-year-old man has been charged with assault over Izak's death.

Izak was found by police unconscious at the back of the Coastlands shopping area carpark at Paraparaumu on August 11 and died in Wellington Hospital the following day.

Mr Strongman-Lintern's friends have taken to Facebook to pay their respects to the "outgoing'' rugby player, with almost 1500 liking a "RIP SEAN Strongman-Lintern aka black Sean'' page.

Kapiti Bears Rugby League Club junior chairman Al Kapa said the club was still devastated after burying Izak Millanta.

"So this is the second Kapiti Bear that we've lost within the space of six weeks.''

Kapa said Strongman-Lintern was a talented player who was popular and well-respected.

"Sean was just a normal young man growing up in a small town. I think he had his ups and downs every now and again but he was a good kid.''

Kapiti Mana area commander Inspector John Price said the deaths highlighted the need to address some key drivers of crime, including alcohol, drugs and violence.

Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan yesterday described the death as another "senseless loss''.

"This is an unbelievably tragic incident that affects not only the family of this young man but our entire community,'' she said.

- APNZ

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