A Taranaki father who for nearly two decades stood up to the four Black Power members who murdered his son in cold blood has died.
Mike Crean, of Opunake, died on July 12 at Taranaki Base Hospital. Yesterday he was buried next to his son Chris Crean at the whanau urupa at Oeo.
Chris Crean was killed on the night of October 6, 1996, in an assassination-style shooting when he answered the door of his home in the New Plymouth suburb of Marfell.
The Black Power shot him after they became aware he was to give evidence in court following a vicious assault on a Mongrel Mob member near his home.
Since then, his father, Mike Crean, and mother, Liz Crean, had continued his brave fight for justice.
The couple recently spoke to the Taranaki Daily News after the killers came up for parole, saying their Christian faith had helped keep them strong.
Following the trial, Brownie Mane, now 42, Robert Shane Maru, 43, Symon George Manihera, 43, and Dennis Luke, 55, were sentenced to life in prison. Mane and Maru received a minimum 17 years' jail, the longest non-parole period in New Zealand at that time.
Liz and Mike Crean celebrated 47 years of marriage this year and together repeated their intention to remain on track in order to keep their son's murderers behind bars.
Mike Crean said his anger had not abated over the years.
"I know they'll be out one day, but as long as I'm alive I'll fight their release. They can rot in hell," he said.
Detective Sergeant Mike Thorne, who along with former Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward has continued to support the couple since the shooting and through the Parole Board process, said Mike Crean's death was a sad loss.
"He was a very tough and staunch man who stood up for what he believed in, along with his wife, Liz, on behalf of all the family," Thorne said. "He was gutsy and forthright and said what he thought."
Police would continue to support Liz Crean at parole hearings in the future, he said.
"It's a sad loss."
- Taranaki Daily News