The grieving widow of a Whangārei business owner killed by a drunk driver has urged her husband's killer to "never destroy anyone else's life".
Shamim Pearson spoke to the Northern Advocate after the sentencing of Michael Gardyne, 35, who was sent to prison for three years, four months, for drink-driving causing the death of loved family man and founder of Foreno Tapware Geoffrey (Geoff) Pearson, 58.
She said she and her husband had been "two peas in a pod" with plans for a retirement filled with riding motorcycles, exploring corners of the world, driving classic cars - and each other.
That ended on August 11, 2018, when she was told Geoff Pearson was dead - killed when Gardyne's Jeep Cherokee crossed a centre line and hit his van head on along Whareora Rd, Whangārei.
Shamim Pearson said there would be no closure for the family who now had to accept the outcome, with relief only that the court hearings had finished.
"I've been doing that for 27 months and each time I go to court, I get completely distraught."
She had a message for Gardyne: "Hopefully he'll learn something for this, hopefully he has time to reflect on what he did, and never destroys anyone else's life."
Her words weren't the only message. In court, after the sentencing was complete, nine family and friends lined the courtroom wall to eyeball Gardyne. The moment came after they asked Judge Deidre Orchard to bring Gardyne back from the cells, to which he agreed.
Shamim Pearson said the request - never seen in Whangārei courts - was a "powerful thing" to honour her late husband and father-of-two.
"I have not slept in our bed since Geoff left ... I feel shattered, our lifetime of dreams is over," she said in court.
"It became unbearable to live on the farm and I had to move out to another place where Geoff had not lived with me."
Foreno general manager and director Kerry Lord was disappointed with the end sentence.
"Three years four months. I thought 'is that all?' To be honest, I thought he should have got a hell of a lot more than that. Everybody was a little bit shocked at the injustice of it."
"He had a bottle of tequila in the morning and it was like 'heck' - I was surprised the case had dragged on for this long," she said.
Lord said she was Pearson's competitor before both joined forces at Foreno.
"He was one of these larger than life characters. I don't know anyone who will speak ill of him."
Foreno last year turned 50 and launched a 50th anniversary tribute collection called NORTH, inspired by Pearson.
Orchard said Pearson and Shamim's future had been "absolutely ripped away from them".
"The first thing that is plain to me is Mr Pearson is really just a sweetheart of a man. He was a good human, cheerful, hardworking, loving, a very present husband and father. You should be thoroughly ashamed for what you did that day."
The day of Geoff Pearson's death began for Gardyne with him waiting for his washing, drinking tequila in a laundromat.
Gardyne then drove his jeep - with his partner and 3-month-old baby - and rear-ended a vehicle in a minor accident not reported to police. Gardyne's partner took over driving to a house in Whareora, but he was quickly asked to leave when his temper flared.
Just 500m away, he collided with Pearson who was on his way to visit his older brother Alan Pearson, who was excited to see his "little bro".
Geoff Pearson was late when a message arrived at the house about a nearby accident, prompting Alan Pearson to rush to the scene.
"Geoff's body was still warm. I put my arm around him, said 'I love you, bro', held him for a short while, then walked away."
Gardyne initially pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2018 but withdrew his plea later that same day.
It was two years before he pleaded guilty again on October 27 on day one of his four-day trial. Gardyne was also convicted of possessing a cannabis pipe.