When an animated Warren Deane confronted 63-year-old William Thompson for dumping rubbish on his Hamilton East street, Thompson's only wish was to get home.
That wish was denied yesterday when he was remanded in custody after a High Court jury in Hamilton found him guilty of Mr Deane's manslaughter.
Mr Deane, 41, a University of Waikato student, confronted Thompson after he saw him dump a bag of rubbish opposite the Brookfield Accommodation Centre on Dey St on October 6 last year.
Thompson would later tell jurors he was frightened and "just wanted to go home". He said Mr Deane approached him quickly, "screaming" and "waving his hands around".
Jurors heard Thompson started his car and drove toward Mr Deane who ended up on the car's bonnet before he fell off 440 metres away on Naylor St.
The student, who lived and worked at the centre as a hostel assistant, suffered massive head injuries when his head struck the road.
Thompson's wife, Maryan Muller-Thompson, clasped her hands together and wept as the jury returned their guilty verdict.
Justice Gilbert remanded Thompson in custody for sentencing in September.
Thompson remained composed as the verdict was read after 4 hours of deliberations, and uttered a quiet "thank you" before being taken from the courtroom.
Outside court, a distraught Mrs Muller-Thompson - who sat through each day's evidence - said her husband was a good man who acted out of fear when Mr Deane jumped on his bonnet.
"It's not his fault, it's not his fault," she told the Waikato Times before taking her husband's gold watch from her handbag and slipping his wedding ring onto her finger.
"I have nothing, I have nobody here."
Mrs Muller-Thompson, originally from Kiribati, married Thompson in 2001. They have no children together.
She said three strokes made it difficult for her to talk but described the trial and verdict as "too much".
"I love my husband and I miss him."
The jurors were asked to decide whether Thompson's actions were a major departure from the standards expected of a reasonable driver.
At trial, Thompson said his actions were in self defence and denied driving dangerously.
He said he did not want to stop because he feared Mr Deane would drag him out and assault him.
Despite Mr Deane clinging to his bonnet, Thompson said he could see past him by leaning from side to side.
But Crown prosecutor Tini Clark urged jurors not to rely on "fresh detail" given by Thompson at trial.
Instead, Ms Clark emphasised comments Thompson made during a police interview recorded on the night of the incident.
During the interview, Thompson told police he didn't like Mr Deane's attitude and described him as a "cowboy".
Later Thompson would tell jurors that he thought police were interviewing him about the rubbish and he did not want to admit to be frightened.
Thompson also made no mention of Mr Deane getting "face to face" with him or abusing him.
- © Fairfax NZ News