Mother too late to visit son who died after fight
BLAIR ENSOR, TOM HUNT AND KAY BLUNDELL
The man charged with assaulting 17-year-old Izak Millanta before he died has also been charged with assaulting Millanta's brother.
Millanta, from Paraparaumu, died surrounded by family and friends in Wellington Hospital about 2.30am yesterday.
He had been on life support after police found him unconscious in a car park at Coastlands Mall, Paraparaumu, with just a graze on his head about 3am on Saturday.
Millanta's mother was on a plane back to Wellington to say goodbye to him, but she didn't make it in time.
Two men were seen allegedly chasing the teenager through an alleyway and into the darkness minutes after a fight outside the Retro Bar.
Police began a homicide investigation yesterday and a 25-year-old Paraparaumu man was arrested and charged with assault.
He appeared in Porirua District Court today and was remanded to appear on September 4. He was granted interim name suppression and was also charged with assaulting Millanta's brother in the same incident.
Four police and two security guards in protective vests were in court today as about 20 people filed into the public gallery.
Inquiry head Detective Inspector Mike Johnson said an autopsy had been done but he declined to give details.
He said police had spoken to both men allegedly seen chasing the victim, one of whom was now facing the assault charge. It was too early to determine whether further charges would be laid, Johnson said.
"There appears to have been a number of incidents and assaults that have gone on throughout the evening and we are still looking hard at all of those."
Police did not believe weapons were involved. It is understood police are investigating several incidents that may have led to the altercation outside the Retro Bar.
One is believed to include a fight, which involved Millanta's brother, Tane.
Their mother was in Taiwan at the time of the incident.
Millanta's father declined to comment yesterday, but Josephine Tukaki-Millanta said her grandson was heading home from a friend's place with Tane when he was involved in an altercation.
She believed her grandson was later bashed in a targeted attack. He suffered internal injuries, she said.
"He [Izak] was a good kid with us, but you don't know what kids are doing behind your back."
Melanie Layzell watched Izak Millanta grow up and said she would remember him as a cheeky boy with a "heart of gold".
Her 16-year-old daughter, Jodie, had known Millanta since the pair were at Raumati Beach School. "He was always there for my daughter."
Millanta would also watch out for Layzell's son. "He would always stick up for him. He always had his mates' backs."
Millanta was a "fantastic" musician who played guitar, drums, and sang.
Layzell was working in a shop in the mall when she heard that a 17-year-old's body had been found. She phoned her daughter straight away. "She and her friend got straight in the car and went straight down there."
Millanta's family, who knew Jodie well, allowed the pair to see him in hospital. "At that stage, they knew he wasn't going to make it."
Millanta would stick up for himself if needed, but was not a fighter.
"He had a lot of people who loved him. It's going to take a lot for the community to get over it."
Mel Hartman, the mother of Millanta's best friend, Rhythm Hartman, said her son was devastated. She believed the Retro Bar should be shut down.
"This boy has been beaten to death; this has to stop.
"All the parents want the Retro Bar closed down. If they do not shut it down, there will be someone else," she said. She feared there would be more violence as a result of the young man's death.
Retro Bar manager David Aitken said the men allegedly involved in Saturday's incident had been refused entry to the bar earlier in the evening because they had breached the liquor ban.
A Facebook page under the name R.I.P Izak Millanta 12/08/12 had been set up for Millanta.
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