Life in jail for thistle grubber murder

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Jurors in the murder trial of Wayne Bracken and Neville Joseph Dangen examined the scene at the Wairakau Stream Track. Photo / Peter De Graaf
Jurors in the murder trial of Wayne Bracken and Neville Joseph Dangen examined the scene at the Wairakau Stream Track. Photo / Peter De Graaf

A man who murdered an Auckland man with a thistle grubber has been jailed for life with a non-parole period of 21 years.

Wayne Bracken, 35, appeared in the High Court at Whangarei today for sentencing on charges of murder and kidnapping of Auckland man Jack Davis on 25, last year, and charges of aggravated robbery, injuring with intent to injure and burglary of a Northland couple on an earlier occasion.

Bracken was found guilty of murdering and kidnapping Mr Davis after a seven-week jury trial in Whangarei earlier this year.

During the trial it emerged that Bracken had Davis hog-tied, left him tied up in a woolshed for about 20 hours, then killed him with a thistle grubber before leaving his body down a ravine off an isolated Northland road.

Today Justice Edwin Wylie said a starting point for Bracken's ``cold blooded'' killing was 20 years and he raised it by a year for aggravating features, including Bracken's continued denial of any wrongdoing, complete lack of remorse, 18 previous convictions including several for violence, and the brutality of the murder.

Bracken remained emotionless during the sentencing, staring straight ahead while several of Mr Davis' family read victim impact statements to the court.

Mr Davis' family said afterwards they were pleased with the length of sentence Bracken received.

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