Macdonald jailed five years for revenge 'missions'
Each crime that Ewen Macdonald committed was driven by revenge and a sense of entitlement, a court heard as he was sentenced to five years jail today.
Macdonald, 32, was found not guilty earlier this year of murdering his brother in law, Feilding farmer Scott Guy, but admitted six other charges relating to night "missions", including arson and vandalism.
Those offences were burning down an old house and damaging a new house belonging to Guy and his wife Kylee Guy, poaching deer, killing calves belonging to Foxton farmer Paul Barber, and destroying property belonging to Himatangi farmer Graham Sexton.
These all took place at night, when Macdonald and former farm worker Callum Boe would set off on "missions".
The judge did give Macdonald some credit for making guilty pleas but noted that he had repeatedly denied his wrongdoing until Boe came forward with an admission and Macdonald was confronted with "overwhelming evidence".
Among those in attendance at the High Court at Palmerston North today were Macdonald's parents, Kerry and Marlene, as well as Detective Inspector Sue Schwalger, the head of the Guy murder inquiry.
FAMILY STATEMENT: EWEN IS OUT OF OUR LIVES
In a statement released after the sentencing, the Guy family said Macdonald's punishment gave them no sense of closure.
''Today is yet another reminder of how one person's actions have affected everyone in our family. The sentencing today does not give us closure or satisfaction. It is simply a reminder that there are consequences for the decisions that Ewen made.
''One consequence is that Ewen is no longer part of our day to day lives. He has lost our trust and has hurt us deeply and shaken the values which our family hold dear. However the turmoil we have been through has brought our immediate family closer together, and it is our future that we now focus on.''
The family thanked New Zealanders for their support and caring.
Justice Simon France split the offences into two groups: offending against the Guys, which Macdonald was sentenced to three year's jail on, and the other charges.
Justice France detailed each offence.
Overnight on January 30, 2009, Macdonald and Boe damaged the inside of a new house belonging to Scott Guy and his wife Kylee.
Macdonald smashed walls and internal fittings with a splitting axe and painted offensive graffiti on the outside of the house.
On October 24, 2008, the pair set fire to an old house ready to be removed from the Guys' side of the farm.
On August 9, 2007, Macdonald and Boe killed 19 calves on Paul Barber's Foxton property. The calves were bashed on the head with a heavy object.
Originally the pair were going to empty a milk vat, as they had done to Sexton the night before.
But the vats were empty so instead the calves were killed.
"Rather than being deterred you decided on a much more callous and brutal revenge," the judge said.
The Sextons were again targeted overnight on March 21, 2008, when Macdonald and Boe burned down a 120-year-old shooting whare on Sexton's land.
The offending against Barber and Sexton happened after Boe and Macdonald were caught poaching on their land and Macdonald thought the farmers had told other about what happened, Justice France said.
Overnight on December 30, 2006, they poached deer worth $17,500 from Colyton farmer Craig Hocken.
PROSECUTOR: NO SIGN OF REMORSE
Crown Prosecutor Paul Murray said all the offending, except the deer poaching, was motivated by vengeance.
Murray urged Justice France to take a cumulative approach to sentencing and recommended a starting point of seven years' prison.
He said Macdonald had not shown remorse, noting that Macdonald told a probation officer the retribution against Barber was justified.
"Each offence derives from a sense of entitlement and one that still seems to exist now," Murray said.
"The offending against Scott and Kylee Guy was intensely personal and done with the intention to unsettle."
Murray also asked for Macdonald to given a greater sentence than Boe's two years.
"[Macdonald] himself has said Boe would not have carried out a mission by himself."
DEFENCE: MACDONALD REGRETTED THE PERSON HE HAD BECOME
Defence lawyer Greg King said Macdonald's comment about the offending against Barber related to the time it happened.
Macdonald had shown true remorse and had changed his life for the better after seeing the effect of his offending on the Guys.
"He said in his letter [to the court] that he hated the person he had become and the reality of the extent of harm and hurt he caused was instrumental for him turning his life around."
Macdonald's changes included becoming a better husband, entering the young farmer of the year competition and undergoing a personal development course, King said.
"These were all the actions of a person who realised that idiot he'd become. He regretted intensely the person he'd become."
- © Fairfax NZ News