Rawden 'Big Boy' Yates was on the run for shooting at a rival gang member with an AK-47 replica before using same gun to shoot one of his own in the back.

The white Holden Commodore stopped on the side of the road, broken down.

Hugh Pepper stopped to help. The other driver seemed agitated, keen to get going, but he asked to borrow some jumper leads.

Once the engine was running again, Pepper was reversing his own car to drive away when he saw something odd.

A man fell out of the passenger seat of the stationary Holden. He seemed drunk, "pretty stuffed", or both.

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Even stranger, thought Pepper, was the driver roughly bundled him back into the car with a punch, or "boof".

The driver was Rawden "Big Boy" Yates, a longtime Tribesmen gang member. His passenger was Kimble Moore, his friend and fellow Tribesman.

It was 6.45am on March 17, 2016. That was the last time Moore was seen alive.

He wasn't drunk. Moore was bleeding out from a single gunshot wound to the stomach.

When they were alone again, Yates shot him twice with a different firearm - his prized replica of an AK-47 machine gun.

"Whether you killed Mr Moore at the roadside, a short distance away, inside your car or outside, is unclear," Justice Mathew Downs told Yates at his sentencing hearing.

"You murdered an already injured man by shooting him twice more - to the back."

Kimble Moore was missing for six months before his body was found. Photo / Supplied.
Kimble Moore was missing for six months before his body was found. Photo / Supplied.

Six months would pass before Moore was found buried in a shallow grave in the bush, wrapped in a blue tarpaulin.

Nearly another six months went by before Northland police had enough evidence to lay a murder charge.

His death was one of four in Northland in 2016 where gang members were killed by their own.

"If that's not an advertisement against joining a gang, I don't know what is," said Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnston.

Now Yates has been convicted, more details of his crimes leading up the murder of Moore can be reported.

He was on the run at the time.

Was this man scared to death?

Just one month before killing Moore, Yates fired his machine gun - which has a drum magazine holding 75 rounds - at Peter Waenga, a member of the rival Black Power gang.

While he wasn't hit directly in the Kaitaia shooting, Waenga was seriously injured from bullets which ricocheted off the footpath into his legs.

Bullets also sprayed into the home of an elderly neighbour.

The ZV 58 rifle - a replica of an AK-47 - was the murder weapon used to kill Kimble Moore. Damaged by the elements, Rawden Yates surrendered the firearm shortly before the trial. Photo / Supplied.
The ZV 58 rifle - a replica of an AK-47 - was the murder weapon used to kill Kimble Moore. Damaged by the elements, Rawden Yates surrendered the firearm shortly before the trial. Photo / Supplied.
Vietnam War veteran Ian McLeod was found dead in his Kaitaia home after a drive-by gang shooting next door. Photo / Supplied.
Vietnam War veteran Ian McLeod was found dead in his Kaitaia home after a drive-by gang shooting next door. Photo / Supplied.

Ian McLeod, a 71-year-old Vietnam War veteran, was found face down in his home. He had died from a heart attack.

"Some bullet holes were close to his bedroom, thankfully they didn't go right through his walls," friend and fellow Vietnam vet Selwyn Fraider told the Weekend Herald in 2016.

"In Vietnam the Viet Cong were armed with AK-47s so you get to know what that sounds like. So if you hear that at 4 o'clock in the morning - that would give anyone a heart attack.

"If that gunfire didn't happen he would still be here today."

The police explored the possibility of a rare prosecution - described by a legal expert as having to prove someone was "scared to death" - but no charges were laid.

While on the run for shooting at Waenga, Yates turned to his friend Kimble Moore for help.

The 48-year-old and his fiance went to Yates' home in Taipa, on the edge of Doubtless Bay in Northland. They arrived shortly before Yates did in the early hours of March
17, 2016.

The Tribesmen smoked methamphetamine together; Yates wanted Moore to go for a drive - alone - against the wishes of his fiance who sensed something was wrong.

"Her instincts were right," said Justice Downs.

After his car broke down on the side of the road, then fatally shooting Moore twice in the back, Yates drove to the home of an acquaintance.

He told the acquaintance to buy spray paint, which he used to change the colour of his car from white to black.

Yates cleaned the car with bleach, to remove forensic evidence, but left tell-tale stains on his clothing. He then burned other evidence linking him to the crime.

That night, or in the early hours of the next morning, Yates and his acquaintance took Moore's body down a gravel road into the bush.

"You grabbed his head and pushed it against Mr Moore's body, which was still in your car boot," said Justice Downs.

"With this action, you sought to buy his silence."

Yates then dragged Moore into the bush to be buried. He then told Moore's partner a "cruel lie"; that Yates had dropped Moore, alive, near their home in Waipapakauri.

Police searching bush in Northland for the body of Kimble Moore. Photo / Northern Advocate.
Police searching bush in Northland for the body of Kimble Moore. Photo / Northern Advocate.

"For six months, his family and friends did not know what had happened to him, or indeed whether he was alive. They looked for his body without success," said Justice Downs.

"His brother described this period as 'torture'. His mother described the later discovery of his body as a 'bitter blessing'.

"All this because you said to Mr Moore's partner you had left him alive, when in fact you had murdered him and hidden his body in the bush.

"They wonder how anyone could behave like this. You will have plenty of time to ask yourself the same question."

Yates pleaded not guilty to murder and argued at his trial he killed Moore in self-defence.

The trial in the High Court at Whangarei lasted three weeks.

It took the jury, which considered more than 1000 pages of evidence, less than four hours to convict him.

"Why you killed Mr Moore remains unclear. No obvious motive emerged at trial," said Justice Downs, although the judge noted there was some evidence Yates was going to be kicked out of the gang.

On Friday, Justice Downs sentenced Yates, now 38, to life imprisonment which is the mandatory term for murder.

He will spend 15 years as an inmate before being eligible for release on parole.

Justice Downs rejected Yates' expression of remorse and said his argument of self-defence was "fiction".

He also rejected Yates' bid to receive a lighter sentence for surrendering the murder weapon - seemingly badly damaged by exposure to the elements - three weeks before the trial started.

A dangerous weapon was now in the hands of the police, his lawyer said.

"I accept your actions have had this effect, but I do not accept this was your motivation," said Justice Downs.

"I consider you arranged for the firearm's surrender for forensic advantage at trial."

The judge described the shooting and the disposal of Moore's body as callous.

"Mr Moore would have been barely conscious, if at all, when you administered the fatal shots to his back ... there was no prospect he could defend himself."

How the callous murder of Kimble Moore unfolded

February 2016:

Rawden "Big Boy" Yates shot at rival Black Power member Peter Waenga. He was injured by bullets ricocheting off driveway. Neighbour Ian McLeod died from a heart attack.

March 2016: Kimble Moore last seen alive with Yates. His partner reports him missing.

September 2016: Moore's body found buried in the bush.

February 2017: Yates arrested and charged with murder.

August 2018: Yates convicted of murder after 3 week trial in the High Court at Whangarei.

September 2018: Sentenced to life imprisonment, will serve at least 15 years.