Life sentence for grandmother's killer

For the second time, a man who brutally bashed a grandmother in her own home has been sentenced to life in prison.

Olinale Ah You, 32, will serve a minimum non-parole period of 18 years and six months for the 2008 murder of Yan Ping Yang in Manurewa.

In 2010 Ah You was found guilty of murder and handed a life sentence with a minimum 20 year non-parole period by Justice Edwin Wylie in the High Court at Auckland.

But early last year the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and ordered a re-trial. The reason was suppressed.

In November a High Court jury again found Ah You guilty of the slaying.

At his sentencing today it emerged that Ah You had a long history of offending in both New Zealand and Australia and that he was already serving sentences for other crimes.

Justice Pamela Andrews said Ah You's offending had a profound and lasting effect on Yang's family.

She read from a victim impact statement written by Yang's granddaughter Lilly Su which said the 80-year-old had been a fit and healthy, kind and caring woman who was the head of their family.

The thought of her grandmother being murdered in her own home created a "horrible, indescribable pain", Su wrote.

In his pre-sentence submission Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery said Ah You's "certain economy of candor" had to be kept in mind when considering how remorseful he was for Yang's death.

He questioned whether Ah You's expressed remorse was "designed to ameliorate his sentence" and was "dictated by his predicament".

He also asked Justice Andrews to consider Ah You's Australian convictions, including a six year sentence for aggravated robbery in which he was deported to New Zealand after three and a half years.

Raftery also noted that Ah You went on to commit another aggravated robbery only weeks after he killed Yang.

In that attack he threatened a young woman and her child with a knife.

Ah You's lawyer Shane Cassidy said his client had not intended to kill Yang, claiming it was an accident.

"He assaulted her for the purpose of facilitating flight," he said.

"The assault was quite clearly to cause her to be confined to the wardrobe - not to kill her and avoid detection."

Cassidy pointed to the fact his client had disconnected the phone as evidence he believed she would be able to get out of the wardrobe.

It also emerged today that Ah You is currently serving a 12 year jail sentence for six other robberies. 

In sentencing Justice Andrews started with a minimum non-parole period of 18 years that she uplifted by six months to 18 years and six months because Ah You was serving community sentences at the time he killed Yang.

She accepted the Crown's submissions that Ah You had a pattern of violent conduct and was someone who would go to extreme lengths to achieve what he wanted.

She declined to take into account Ah You's claim that he was under the influence of methamphetamine when he went into Yang's house.

During the trial the court heard Ah You punched Yang in the face, kicked and stomped on her chest and tried to force her into a wardrobe by her hair during the robbery.

Yang lived with her son, her daughter-in-law and her three grandchildren, but on the day of the attack she was home alone.

Before she died she was able to tell a police officer about the attack from her hospital bed.

She said she had been turning the television off when an intruder put his hand over her mouth and forced her downstairs to her bedroom.

The court heard that Ah You then repeatedly tried to force her into a wardrobe but she resisted.

Later she fell on the floor and he punched her in the head and stomped on her chest. Ah You fled with $1200 belonging to her grandson.

Eventually Yang lost consciousness and was discovered lying on the ground by her family several hours later.

Police were called after hospital staff discovered Yang's injuries were not consistent with falling over or becoming ill.

Yang had extensive bruising to her head, face, chest, arms and legs, scalp, multiple rib fractures on both sides of her rib cage and a fracture to her sternum and neck.

Evidence presented during the trial compared the fractures to those suffered in a high speed road crash or falling from several metres.

Today several of Yang's family including Su sat through the sentencing. They declined to talk to media outside the court.

Auckland Now