'Extreme remorse' reduces sentence

ROB KIDD
Last updated 11:24 18/06/2013

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An Auckland man who provided the gun for an accidental killing has been jailed for 16 months.

Gareth Heron, 25, previously pleaded guilty to two firearms charges and one of being an accessory to manslaughter.

On January 2, Alex Mark Ulu, 23, - a prospective police officer - was shot in the stomach by a relative outside a property in Flat Bush.

He died 16 days later in Middlemore Hospital.

Judge Jonathan Moses described it as "a terribly sad incident" before recounting the facts at Manukau District Court this morning.

Heron took a sawn-off .22 rifle to the south Auckland address late at night and passed it to one of the men who were sitting on the roadside.

"One of the men was pointing the firearm at a relative and pulled the trigger. It appears from the summary he was unaware the gun was loaded," the judge said.

"You had, during an earlier incident, warned the person not to treat it as a toy, but despite that, it was used and someone has died as a result."

Heron has a significant criminal history, mostly made up of dishonesty offences and burglaries, but Judge Moses said it did not warrant an addition to the jail term.

Instead he gave the offender discounts for his early guilty plea and "extreme remorse".

"This incident has been a sobering one for you," he said.

"At this stage in your life, you've been back and forth from court. I trust this has been a wake-up call for you as to how you want to spend the rest of your life."

Despite the sentence of 16 months handed down, Heron turned to supporters as he left the court and shouted: "Out in two months".

The man charged with the manslaughter of Ulu will appear in Manukau District Court again next month.

He has not yet pleaded to the charge.

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