A jail term of five years 11 months has been imposed for the manslaughter of Sean Strongman-Lintern in a notorious area of the Kapiti coast where one of his friends had been killed just weeks before.
Tristim Lee Eastham, 25, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 20-year-old Mr Strongman-Lintern.
Mr Strongman-Lintern was killed just a month after another death nearby. Izak Millanta, 17, was beaten to death by Manawanui Stewart who was sentenced in February to six years' prison.
In the High Court at Wellington today Mr Strongman-Lintern's mother, Nichole Craig, said her son was still mourning his friend's death when he was killed.
In a moving victim impact statement she read to the court, Ms Craig said it was a terrible feeling knowing she would not see her son again.
"I still dream that Sean is alive and when I wake up I remember he is dead."
She dreams that he needs her and she can't help him.
He got into some fights, as some boys do, she said, but shortly before his death he told his mother he could not understand why some people "put the boot in" to a person lying helpless on the ground.
She said he was academically gifted and known for his compassion.
But in the early hours of September 15 last year, after disputes between people at Monteiths Brewery Bar at Kapiti Junction, Paraparaumu, both Eastham and Mr Strongman-Lintern left the bar. Mr Strongman-Lintern later went to where Eastham was sitting in a van in the carpark.
Eastham's lawyer, Mike Antunovic said it was a tragic coincidence that Eastham was cleaning grease from under his fingernails with a homemade knife when Mr Strongman-Lintern approached the van. Eastham took the knife with him when he got out of the van.
The two fought and Eastham got the worst of it and ended up on the ground being punched in the head area several times. During the fight Eastham used his knife to stab Mr Strongman-Lintern in the chest. Mr Strongman-Lintern later died despite the care of ambulance staff.
Justice Ron Young said he accepted Eastham used the knife when Mr Strongman-Lintern was getting the better of him, but it was a gross over-reaction.
He called on the community to act to stop the culture of drinking and violence that was making victims and prisoners of their young people. The lives of their families and friends have been permanently scarred, he said.
He said the families who had suffered could take the lead in seeing that something was done.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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