Although she writes for a living, Jordan Herewini's mother was unable to find words to describe how she felt about her son's brutal, absolutely senseless death in a victim impact statement she read to the High Court at Rotorua yesterday.
Nothing could have prepared her for seeing her boy's lifeless body lying on a cold mortuary slab cut, bruised, broken and with a huge tyre impact across his chest, Natalie Cowley said.
With her daughter by her side clutching Jordan's photograph, Ms Cowley said her son's death was revolting, brutal and an absolutely senseless crime.
Speaking to gang member Quentin Pukeroa, yesterday jailed for life for murder with a minimum non-parole period of 15 years, she said she had tried to understand his position.
"You keep any remorse in you hidden because of your gang. You can hide behind your Mongrel Mob but strip that away and you are the man who killed a boy. Did you get the wrong person, Quentin?" she asked. Jordan had not been a gang prospect.
Speaking outside court, Jordan's mother said Pukeroa's jail sentence could never compensate for her family's loss.
"It's not justice in the true sense of the word - there's no balance, my son is dead. When I looked over at [Pukeroa] I saw a little bit of humanity in him, I saw a little bit of guilt, but whether he'll be a changed man, I don't know.
"He hasn't denounced his gang affiliations. There's been no remorse shown from the murderer or his family, no words of sorrow given."
In November, Pukeroa, 32, was found guilty of Jordan's murder and of the attempted murder of Iwi Delamere, two counts of aggravated burglary relating to two Murupara properties and participating in a criminal group, the Mongrel Mob.
The jury heard tensions between Murupara's Tribesmen and Kawerau's Mongrel Mob escalated on January 27 last year after Jordan was abused by Pukeroa and another Mongrel Mob member. Jordan was wearing his yellow school PE shirt. Yellow is the colour associated with the Tribesmen gang, while Mongrel Mob members wear red.
The abuse led to a fight in the town centre where Pukeroa was punched, hit over the head with an axe and thrown to the ground. His truck was taken by Tribesmen members, including one of Jordan's brothers, and was burned out and pushed over a bank.
Events culminated in Jordan being run over by Pukeroa, driving a truck belonging to a Herewini brother. Pukeroa also aimed the vehicle at Iwi Delamere, who managed to jump out of the way.
Sentencing Pukeroa, Justice Edwin Wylie said he had been a patched Mongrel Mob member for 10 years as "merely a soldier". The theft of his truck made him extremely angry and he had set out to exact revenge. Murupara had been held to ransom for a period of hours.
His Honour noted Pukeroa told the writer of his pre-sentence report that he was devastated to hear Jordan had died, but had no intention of relinquishing his Mongrel Mob membership.
Justice Wylie sentenced Pukeroa to eight years' jail on the charges additional to murder, to be served concurrently with the murder term.
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