Life sentence for 'bourbon and cola murder'

Ben Herkt at an earlier appearance at the High Court in Auckland.
Chris McKeen/Fairfax NZ

Ben Herkt at an earlier appearance at the High Court in Auckland.

A man who stabbed his friend to death after a dispute over pre-mixed cans of bourbon and cola has been jailed for at least 12 years.

Ben Bosch Herkt, 39, was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years for the murder of 32-year-old Matthew Greenslade.

Justice Simon Moore told the High Court at Auckland that Herkt and Greenslade were good friends and had been drinking together at Greenslade's unit in Papakura, south Auckland, on November 17, 2014.

When they ran out of booze they went to buy a box of Cody's cans before returning to the house.

Trial set for Takanini stabbing case 
Fatal stabbing over box of bourbon, court told 
Guilty of murder for stabbing friend to death
Woman who hid murder weapon jailed


An argument followed about whether Herkt had been hiding Cody's in his bag to drink more than his fair share and the pair began to have a fist fight where they "traded blows".

Greenslade got the better of Herkt in the scuffle and kicked him out of his house.

Moore said Herkt was so enraged that he then "made a fatal decision to exact revenge".

Herkt asked one of Greenslade's neighbours for a cricket bat but the bat was broken so he asked for a knife instead and was given one.

Ad Feedback

After smashing in Greenslade's back door he launched a "frenzied" attack on Greenslade, repeatedly stabbing him in the head, neck, chest and abdomen, with one fatal blow piercing his heart.

"It was over in a matter of seconds," Moore said.

Greenslade was driven to Papakura Accident and Emergency but fell unconscious upon arrival and was unable to be revived.

Herkt was arrested the following day and told police he wasn't thinking clearly at the time of the attack, that he was drunk and in "angry mode".

He said Greenslade was a good guy who did not deserve to die.

"I should have shook his hand and acknowledged he won the fight," he said.

Moore said Herkt has an "unenviable criminal history" with 98 previous convictions. In 2012 he was sentenced to three years jail for three bank robberies.

The prior convictions meant Herkt was eligible to be sentenced to life without parole under the new three strikes legislation.

Moore decided against that option based on "all of the factors of the case as a whole".

He said the murder was at the "lower end of the scale although not at the lowest".

Greenslade's family were also consulted on the three strike legislation, Moore said, however the majority of the relatives did not want Herkt to spend the rest of his life behind bars and wanted him to make a positive change in his life.

Moore urged Herkt to heed that compassion from Greenslade's family and turn his life around.

Herkt was found guilty of murder by a High Court jury in November 2015.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback