A Whanaganui court heard on Thursday how the five men charged with murdering Craig Rippon beat him like "chopping into a fallen tree".

Tyrone Peter Madams, Kevin Roy Madams, Matthew Thomas Madams, one youth and one child are charged with murdering the Black Power president and with participating in a criminal organisation. All five have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Crown prosecutor Harry Mallalieu told the High Court in Whanganui how it was a puppy that "tragically and pathetically" was the cause of the attack.

After being approached by a woman looking for the lost puppy, Mr Rippon had retrieved the animal from the accused youth and child earlier on November 8, 2015.


Tyrone Peter Madams became angry after hearing this, believing a reward was involved, Mr Mallalieu said.

The five defendants left their home and went to Mr Rippon's Rimu Street property where there was a confrontation in which the Tyrone Peter Madams was injured.

Mr Mallalieu said the five left, but returned later with weapons - and a sixth person, Tyrone William Madams.

Mathew Madams stayed in the car while the five others smashed windows and shouted Black Power slogans.

Mr Rippon confronted the group with a shovel but was disarmed, the prosecution said.

The group then attacked the victim, striking him multiple times in the head.

Mr Rippon's family witnessed the attack from inside the house. One witness described it "like they were chopping into a log, or a fallen tree," Mr Mallalieu said.

Mr Rippon, 57, died later that day in hospital.

Mr Mallalieu said The police later described how the group was "pumped up" and boasted to officers about the attack.

However, the defence urged the jury to assess the facts before rushing to judgment on the case.

Peter Brosnahan, defending Tyrone Peter Madams told the court his client was "paralytically" drunk during events leading up to the attack.

A witness stated that Tyrone appeared "pretty drunk" during the earlier confrontation, and needed assitance getting home.

Kevin Madams'lawyer Peter Surridge said his client did not participate in the attack.

Defence for Mathew Madams, Paul Keegan, said his client suffered from schizophrenia and was simply the driver for the group.

Mathew Madams is the son of Tyrone Peter Madams and had been living with his father ever since he was 13, the court was told.

The defence for the two youngest accused argued they had little influence on the group, and simply went along with the adult members.

In June, Tyrone William Madams pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Rippon and was sentenced to life imprisonment.