Just two days after helping dish out a fatal beating on Sao Yean then dumping his body in a rural water trough, Neha Grey stormed into a pub armed with a knife and robbed the occupants of their belongings.
Alongside Grey was his co-offender Daniel Proctor who was armed with a sawn-off shotgun when they busted into Hamilton’s Flagstaff Sports Bar and Cafe on March 15, 2020.
Proctor was also one of three who robbed the Taupiri Tavern just under a week later.
However, despite subjecting pub patrons to a frightening robbery, Grey doesn’t have to serve any extra time behind bars as he was jailed for 18 years for his role in the murder of Yean in September this year.
Grey, 40, and Proctor, in his early 30s, were both high on methamphetamine when they got into the pub through an unlocked back door, surprised the sole staff member and four patrons.
Grey then approached one person and said, “get on the f****** ground” and stood guard as Proctor emptied the cash register, then headed into a back room and emptied the contents of the safe into his backpack.
The patrons were robbed of their cellphones, wallets, and cash, and left traumatised by the ordeal.
Grey and Proctor, facing one and two charges of aggravated robbery respectively, appeared for sentencing by Judge Philip Crayton in the Hamilton District Court on Monday.
Proctor was one of three to hit the Taupiri Tavern on March 21, 2020, when more than $12,000 was taken from the till and gambling machines, along with an employee’s handbag, keys, tobacco, phones, and bags from the patrons.
One woman was shoved off her chair and hit over the head after her bag was taken.
Sao Yean’s grisly Hamilton murder
Grey, together with co-offenders, Daniel Payne, Mihingarangi Tynneal Rameka were all jailed for at least 18 years for the slaying of Yean in Rameka’s Enderly garage during the early hours of March 13, 2020.
The beating they dealt the 40-year-old victim was so brutal his attackers asked for a speaker to be brought into the garage to drown out his screams with music.
A jury found the trio guilty of the attack, while Anton Rite, was also found guilty but jailed for 11 years for his role in dumping the body with Grey at Gordonton afterward.
Rameka’s half-sister Teretere Taniwha was jailed for two years and 10 months on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder for helping Rameka clean up the bloodied shed, which included ripping up and disposing of the carpet.
She was also charged with injuring with intent to cause Dean Mihinui grievous bodily harm and wounding Jesse Whitiora with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and unlawful detention.
‘He hasn’t had a standard upbringing’
Grey’s counsel, Jessica Tarrant, submitted her client had “some traumas” from his background which was why he was leading his life that way at the time.
“He hasn’t had a standard upbringing,” she said.
He now had insight into how and why it occurred and there wasn’t a large amount of cash or property taken, she said, with Judge Crayton noting the seriousness centred more around the execution of the robbery itself and those who were targeted.
Crown prosecutor Laurie McMaster reeled off a litany of aggravating features before highlighting the key one - that they walked into a licensed premise while armed with a weapon and targeting patrons.
“There’s a high degree of intimidation used by the use of weapons and also the directions to get on the ground.”
Judge Crayton accepted he was in the unusual position of sentencing Grey, who was already serving an 18-year term, and then likely issuing a term that would run concurrently, or alongside.
However, his offending was serious; there were two of them who acted in concert, both were heavily disguised, stole property that was also sentimental, and the victims were left traumatised, even though it was more than three years on.
He allowed 10 per cent discount for his plea and another 5 per cent for his background factors but noted some “might think that was still generous”.
Grey was jailed for five years, 10 months and two weeks.
As for Proctor, despite struggling with literacy, he read a letter of remorse out to the court via the audio-visual link he appeared from.
Judge Crayton appreciated the gesture and accepted his upbringing had been a lot more traumatic than Grey’s and that he was receiving counselling through ACC.
Proctor had grown into someone who was easily manipulated, as he had been on the day of the robbery, the judge said.
His lawyer Vhari Thursby successfully persuaded Judge Crayton to allow a total of 50 per cent in discounts, coming to an end jail term of four years and six months.
Belinda Feek is an Open Justice reporter based in Waikato. She has worked at NZME for eight years and been a journalist for 19.