The family of a Central North Island woman killed after a beating from her estranged husband are furious her killer was not found guilty of murder.
Joseph Kengike, 28, unemployed, was yesterday found not guilty of the 2005 murder of Moana Kapua following a three-week trial at the High Court at Rotorua. He was found guilty of manslaughter.
Kengike stomped on Ms Kapua's chest and strangled her during a beating in Tokoroa last November 18. She suffered multiple injuries and died from a facial injury four days later.
Kengike accepted he was responsible for the death of his wife, with whom he had six children, but denied murdering her.
Yesterday's verdict did not go down well with Ms Kapua's family.
Her mother Carol Teka said Kengike deserved to be convicted of murder because he had been violent towards her for the many years they were together.
"I wasn't very happy about the verdict, only because it's been a long 12 years of abuse.
"If a human life takes another human life, [that] to me is murder, just like it is in the Bible."
She said her daughter did not deserve to die the way she had and the family felt cheated.
"She was a great mother, she was a great person, very kind and humbled ... she'd give up her last dollar basically."
Although the family are upset at the verdict, Ms Teka said they had no choice but to accept it.
During the trial, Crown Solicitor Fletcher Pilditch told the court Kengike repeatedly beat Ms Kapua. Kengike stomped on Ms Kapua's chest, leaving his footprint, strangled her and severely beat her. She suffered bruising to her forehead, eyes, jaw and body after the attack.
She died as a result of a fractured eye socket but a witness for the defence said that injury was more likely to have been the result of a fall rather than a blow.
While Kengike accepted he was responsible for Ms Kapua's death, he denied knowing how it happened, claiming he was too drunk and stoned to remember.
Dr Martin James Wheatcroft Rees from Auckland was called as an expert witness during Kengike's defence case. He said the fatal facial injuries Ms Kapua suffered were more likely from a fall than a punch or blow.
Following the verdict yesterday Justice John Priestley remanded Kengike in custody for sentencing on July 6.
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