In a rage of hatred towards Christianity, a neo-Nazi and his accomplice smashed nine windows of a Feilding church on Easter Sunday, a court has heard.
Nearly $4000 worth of windows were smashed at the Lutheran Church on King St in the early hours of April 4, by the men who claimed to hate Jesus, the church and Easter.
Daniel Waring, 21, and his co-accused Nicholas Melrose, 18, pleaded guilty to a charge each of intentional damage in Feilding District Court yesterday.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Ricky Lewer said Waring smashed three windows with a wooden baton about 12.20am.
Less than two hours later he returned with Melrose and together they smashed a further six windows.
The pair fled when the church's pastor yelled at them from inside.
He had been cleaning up glass after the first attack.
When questioned, the men told police they were anti-Jesus, anti-Christ and hated Easter.
Waring told a probation officer he was part of the Blood and Honour New Zealand – a neo-Nazi music promotion network and political group – but later denied being a member of the organisation.
Waring's lawyer, Mike Ryan, said he had been depressed, angry, and drunk on the night he attacked the church.
"At the time the defendant's medication wasn't working and some of the side effects included depression and sleeplessness. He had also been evicted from his flat," Mr Ryan said.
Melrose's lawyer, Richard Bedford, said alcohol had been a factor.
"He did it because he thought it was funny at the time, but he said it wasn't that funny once he was sober. He is genuinely remorseful."
He said Melrose moved to Amberley, in Canterbury, after the incident to "move on with his life".
Judge Alistair Garland said the men's actions were unprovoked and mindless vandalism. "It appears it was a hate crime and on the most significant day. You did a substantial amount of damage."
Judge Garland convicted and sentenced Waring to 100 hours' community work and ordered him to pay reparation of $2548. Melrose was convicted and sentenced to 100 hours' community work, two months community detention and ordered to pay $1274.
The damage came to $3822.
- Manawatu Standard
Will the bus shelter walkway planned for The Square be ready by the end of June?Related story: Covered walkway for Palmerston North bus users by winter