The Guy family says Ewen Macdonald has caused deep hurt and is no longer part of their day-to-day lives.
Ewen Macdonald has today been sentenced to five years' jail for illegal activity on night "missions", including arson and vandalism.
The former Feilding farmer, 32, was earlier this year acquitted of murdering his brother-in-law Scott Guy, but admitted to six unrelated charges.
Those offences were burning down an old house and damaging a new house belonging to Scott and Kylee Guy, poaching deer, killing calves belonging to Foxton farmer Paul Barber and destroying property belonging to Himatangi farmer Graham Sexton.
In the High Court at Palmerston North, Justice Simon France split the offences into two groups: offending against the Guys, which Macdonald was sentenced to three years' jail for, and the other charges.
After today' sentencing, the Guy family issued a statement saying the hearing was "yet another reminder of how one person’s actions have affected everyone in our family".
"The sentencing today does not give us closure or satisfaction. It is simply a reminder that there are consequences for the decisions that Ewen made.
"One consequence is that Ewen is no longer part of our day to day lives. He has lost our trust and has hurt us deeply and shaken the values which our family hold dear. However the turmoil we have been through has brought our immediate family closer together, and it is our future that we now focus on.
The Guy family said it was now challenged with building a new life.
"We are determined to build a future not on anger or revenge, not on resentment or sorrow. We must build a future for our children and grandchildren on love and compassion, on truth and faith.
"We can only reiterate our heartfelt thanks to all New Zealanders for the support and caring you have shown our family, which continues to give us strength and courage."
The judge gave Macdonald some credit for making guilty pleas but noted that Macdonald had repeatedly denied his wrongdoing until Boe came forward with an admission and Macdonald was confronted with "overwhelming evidence".
The offending took place at night when Macdonald former farm worker Callum Boe would set off on "missions".
Justice France detailed each offence.
- Overnight on January 30, 2009, Macdonald and Boe damaged with inside of a new house belonging to Scott Guy and his wife Kylee. Using a splitting axe, Macdonald smashed wall and internal fittings with the axe and tagged offensive graffiti on the outside of the house.
- On October 24, 2008, the pair set fire to an old house ready to be removed from the Guys' side of the farm.
- On August 9, 2007, Macdonald and Boe killed 19 calves on Paul Barber's Foxton property. The calves were bashed on the head with a heavy object. Originally the pair were going to empty a milk vat, as they had done to Himatangi farmer Graham Sexton the night before. But the vats were empty so instead the calves were killed. "Rather than being deterred you decided on a much more callous and brutal revenge," the judge said.
- The Sextons were again targeted overnight on March 21, 2008, when Macdonald and Boe burned down a 120-year-old shooting house on Mr Sexton's land. The offending against Mr Barber and Mr Sexton happened after Boe and Macdonald were caught poaching on their land and Macdonald thought the farmers had told others about what happened, Justice France said.
- Overnight on December 30, 2006, they poached deer worth $17,500 from Colyton farmer Craig Hocken.
Crown Prosecutor Paul Murray said all the offending, except the deer poaching, were motivated by vengeance.
Mr Murray urged Justice France to take a cumulative approach to sentencing and recommended a starting point of seven years' prison.
He rejected that Macdonald was showing "exceptional remorse", noting that Macdonald told a probation officer the retribution against Mr Barber was justified.
"Each offence derives from a sense of entitlement and one that still seems to exist now," Mr Murray said.
"The offending against Scott and Kylee Guy was intensely personal and done with the intention to unsettle.”
Mr Murray also asked for Macdonald to be given a greater sentence than Boe.
"[Macdonald] himself has said Boe would not have carried out a mission by himself."
Defence lawyer Greg King said Macdonald's comment about the offending against Mr Barber related to the time it happened.
Macdonald had shown true remorse and had changed his life for the better after seeing the affect of his offending on the Guys.
"He said in his letter [to the court] that he hated the person he had become and the reality of the extent of harm and hurt he caused was instrumental for him turning his life around."
Macdonald's changes included becoming a better husband, entering the young farmer of the year competition and undergoing a personal development course, Mr King said.
"These were all the actions of a person who realised that idiot he'd become. He regretted intensely the person he'd become."
Related: The Guy Family tree
- © Fairfax NZ News
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