A Whanganui man, who kicked a two-year-old boy to death, has been found guilty of the toddler's murder.
It took a jury of three men and nine women three hours to find Rikki Ngatai-Check, 23, guilty of murder rather than manslaughter in the High Court at Whanganui today.
Ngatai-Check had earlier admitted causing the internal injuries and bleeding that killed two-year-old Karl Perigo-Check on October 24 last year, which included two kicks to the boy's stomach, one delivered roundhouse-style.
During his week-long murder trial, the crown had argued Ngatai-Check knew the second kick ran the risk of killing the toddler, but he consciously went ahead with it anyway, making him guilty of murder.
But the defence said Ngatai-Check simply lost control in a moment of rage, and despite the tragic outcome, he was guilty of manslaughter only.
Justice Joseph Williams remanded Ngatai-Check in custody to be sentenced in March.
A packed public gallery was on hand to see the verdict handed down, some breaking out in applause as the verdict was read out.
Rikki Ngatai-Check is not a blood relative of Karl Perigo-Check. He was described in court as a cousin of the boy's father Karl Check - who is serving at last 15 years in jail for the 2007 murder of Jhia Te Tua, 2, during an altercation between the Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs in Whanganui.
Ngatai-Check began a relationship with the toddler's mother, Lilah Terelyn McGregor, 31, after the Jhia shooting.
- The Dominion Post