A Waikato man whose deadly assault on his cousin was so brutal some of the man's fractured ribs punctured his liver has been jailed for nine years.

Michael Paul Taylor, 51, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced today in the High Court at Auckland for the death of his cousin Michael Patrick Robert Bull.

The court heard Taylor viciously hit and kicked Mr Bull one night in October 2014, before leaving him to die on the floor in the home the pair shared in rural Meremere.

The pair had been drinking home brewed alcohol with friends earlier in the night, but Taylor's aggressive behaviour prompted all of them to leave, leaving him alone with his cousin.


The attack on Mr Bull, which was described as unprovoked and gratuitous by Judge Simon Moore, was made all the more callous by a phone call Taylor made to the victim's sister while her brother could be heard screaming for help in the background.

Taylor called Maree Bull around 1.20am, asking her: "Do you love your brother?".

Ms Bull told the court she could hear her brother screaming and making a gurgling sound.

She twice begged Taylor to call an ambulance but instead of doing so Taylor kept shouting at Mr Bull, telling him: "If you don't f***ing shut up I'll kick you in the head."

Ms Bull said in her victim impact statement the phone call would haunt her for the rest of her life.

Some time after 5.30am that morning emergency services were called to the house and Mr Bull was declared dead.

Taylor pleaded guilty on three charges including manslaughter.

He also pleaded guilty to injuring with intent to injure and assault with a weapon, namely a metal pipe which he hit Mr Bull with in a separate attack only a few weeks prior to his deadly assault.

Mr Bull was described by his family as a quiet, unassertive man who suffered from a raft of health complaints.

His sister and two other cousins submitted victim impact statements, which Justice Moore said described a much loved and deeply missed family member, "kind and big hearted ... a big teddy bear".

The cousins also "made plain" they were ashamed to be related to Taylor, Justice Moore said.

When Taylor began his attack, pulling Mr Bull's hair, calling him names and describing him as a "useless piece of shit" and a "waste of space", Mr Bull responded by apologising.

"I'm sorry cuz; I'm sorry cuz," he said.

In his summary, Justice Moore emphasised the role home brew alcohol was thought to have played in the attack.

Taylor alleged he was so drunk he could not remember what happened, including making the phone call to Mr Bull's sister or what happened in the hours leading up to Mr Bull being found dead.

Cause of death was ruled to be blunt force trauma, with Mr Bull suffering multiple rib fractures, some of which had punctured his liver.

He also had face and hand injuries and extensive bruising on his arms and legs.

Justice Moore said he did not believe Taylor showed genuine remorse and that to this day he still did not appear to have insight into the consequences of his actions.

Taylor was sentenced to nine years and two months in prison.