Gang cuts off man's finger for 'narking'

A court ruling has lifted the lid on the brutal tactics used by the Headhunters gang, outlining how a man had a finger severed by two torturers who refused to give it back, opting to add it to a collection of digits and ears.

The man, who was punished for "narking", had been given the choice of losing his finger or his tongue. The two gang members refused to hand the finger back so their victim could try to get it reattached.

The grisly details are revealed in a Court of Appeal decision - revealing the macabre aspects of gang life, and highlighting how members hand down their own form of justice.

Moments before the victim was made to hold a large knife over his right little finger and gang prospect Michael Robert Brooks smashed down on it with a sledgehammer, the man had begged not to be deformed, offering money to stave off the attack.

But gang boss Terrence Austin McFarland said it was "either his finger or his tongue", ordering the terrified man to take a hands-on role in the amputation.

Both men were jailed in September last year for maiming the victim - McFarland, 45, for eight years, and Brooks, 35, for six years and eight months. They appealed against their convictions and sentences at a hearing in July.

Justice Terence Arnold has dismissed the appeals, ruling that their jail sentences will stand.

The amputation happened in West Auckland.

The victim, who has name suppression and gave evidence under the police witness protection programme, said he had seen a man being beaten with a metal bar by a group of Headhunters a month earlier for being a "nark". The man was taken away unconscious.

McFarland later told him the man had died and asked for help in burying the body in a freshly dug grave.

The victim refused and was told to keep quiet or "there would be consequences". It later emerged the man had not been killed.

Soon after the victim was remanded in custody for breaching bail while awaiting sentencing for aggravated robbery.

He told a fellow inmate about the alleged killing and that he had been asked to help dispose of the body.

But the inmate is believed to have been a Headhunters member and news of the conversation soon reached McFarland.

On his release, the victim - who was not a Headhunters member but "socialised" with gang members - was called to see McFarland in a room under a house and challenged about being a nark.

"Mr McFarland said he was going to cut the complainant's finger off," court documents say.

"The complainant asked if there was anything else he could do, such as paying some money, but Mr McFarland said that it was either his finger or his tongue."

The victim then wrapped his bleeding hand in a T-shirt, went to hospital and later to police.

When police searched the house they found knives, a sledgehammer and various blood spots and smears on the room's ceiling and walls.

The Dominion Post