Teens admit attack on intellectually disabled man

Last updated 05:00 25/03/2010

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Two Invercargill teenagers were convicted yesterday for their part in a brutal attack with a claw hammer and a tomahawk axe on a man with an intellectual disability.

A graphic police summary of facts details the offenders washing blood from their hands and bragging about their actions in the aftermath of the attack.

Anthony Miles Tamati Watkins, also known as Miles Samson, and Matthew Evans-Kent, both 15, appeared before Judge Brian Callaghan in the Invercargill District Court yesterday where they admitted joint charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and aggravated burglary, stemming from the attack on the man on November 4.

Three adult men, aged 19, 17 and 33, are before the court or have already been sentenced on the same charges for their part in the attack.

The charges are indictable, meaning, despite their age, the pair were dealt with in district court.

Both the charges carry a maximum sentence of 14 years' jail.

According to the police summary of facts, the victim is a 19-year-old man who suffers from a genetic and cardio disorder called Williams Syndrome, giving him the mental age of an 11 or 12-year-old.

Despite his disabilities, he was living independently with some support in a flat at the time of the attack.

On November 4, Watkins, Evans-Kent and their co-offenders were drinking at a house in Teviot St and as the night wore on they talked about the victim and comments they believe he had made to police, the summary says. "It was decided it was payback time."

The five decided to go to the man's Bowmont St flat to "give him a beating".

Of then five, it is Evans-Kent and Watkins who were armed – with a claw hammer and a tomahawk axe respectively, the summary says.

Between 10.30pm and 10.40pm the five left the Teviot St house and went to the man's flat.

Evans-Kent knocked on a sliding door.

The victim, who was asleep, got up, partly opened the door and Evans-Kent struck him in the head multiple times.

The five forced their way into his house before all four "set upon him", the summary says.

Watkins struck him once in the back with the blade of the axe and a second time on the upper left leg, causing large lacerations, the summary says.

The attack only stopped when the man started screaming. The screams alerted a neighbour, who called police.

Evans-Kent threw the hammer into bushes as he and Watkins ran back to the Teviot St house where they discussed what happened, washed the blood from their hands and the axe before putting it back in a wood bin.

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The man's injuries were so severe – one laceration was initially thought to have perforated his bowel – he underwent surgery the following day, the same day Evans-Kent handed himself into police.

He would not name his co-offenders, the summary says.

Watkins initially told police he had acted as a lookout and denied attacking the man with the axe.

Lawyers for the pair – Kate McHugh for Watkins and Fergus More for Evans-Kent – both asked for interim name suppression for their clients until the were sentenced.

The requests were denied by Judge Callaghan who convicted both before remanding them to appear in the Invercargill District Court for sentence on May 20.

- The Southland Times

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