Killers get added jail sentences
The Killer Clown Fiends, jailed for the hammer-bashing murder of Dean Browne, have been found guilty of an Auckland home invasion.
Names and details of the invasion, carried out two weeks before the murder, were suppressed until the trial in Auckland last month.
Karl Teangiotau Nuku, 22, and Mikhail Pandey-Johnson, 28, were convicted of aggravated robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm stemming from the invasion on January 5, 2010.
Two weeks later they were involved in the murder of Dean Browne, 38, at an Oriental Bay flat in Wellington.
Browne was bashed to death with a hammer then driven to New Plymouth where his body was dumped in the garage belonging to Pandey-Johnson's cousin.
The two were convicted in July 2011 following a six-week trial in the High Court in New Plymouth.
The jury acquitted their co-accused Rhys Fournier who was also a member of the gang
Pandey-Johnson and Nuku were sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 years.
On June 10 in the Auckland District Court following two weeks of evidence, the jury returned with guilty verdicts on all the home invasion charges.
Nuku was sentenced to seven years jail for the aggravated robbery and a cumulative sentence of 18 months for unlawful possession of a firearm, Taranaki Detective Byron Reid said.
Pandey-Johnson received nine years prison for the aggravated robbery and three years cumulative jail term for unlawful possession of a firearm.
The murder trial heard that after police were alerted to the body in the garage, a two-day armed manhunt across North Taranaki followed.
Pandey-Johnson and Nuku were arrested just south of New Plymouth and Fournier was arrested near New Plymouth Prison.
The trial heard how Pandey-Johnson was the leader of the small Auckland drug-dealing gang calling themselves the Killer Clown Fiends.
They denied they were behind the cold-blooded execution of Browne.
But a key secret witness, called Witness 29, who was given immunity from prosecution, gave evidence of the planning of the murder and how she heard the hammer blows when hiding under the blankets in her Oriental Bay bedroom where they had all been sleeping. She admitted injecting Browne with morphine.
In December 2012 the Court of Appeal dismissed the two men's appeal against their convictions and sentences.
And late last year, Pandey-Johnson was refused the right to appeal to the Supreme Court.
In the Court of Appeal lawyer for Pandey-Johnson, Michele Wilkinson- Smith, said Witness 29 was "in it boots and all" and it was an incorrect prosecution decision to put her in the witness box rather than charge her.
The morphine could not be excluded as having caused Mr Browne's death, she said.
The appeal judges disagreed.
Taranaki Daily News