Man jailed for pipe attack on parents 'was demeaned all the time'
The couple were watching television in their recliner chairs when their son appeared behind them with a steel pipe.
Tony Alexander Wallace's seething childhood resentment had boiled over after an argument with his mother.
Wallace, then 41, beat his mother and stepfather at the Whangamata home they shared in August 2016.
He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison at Hamilton District Court on Monday.
Wallace was routinely belittled as a child, defence lawyer Michael McIvor said, and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
"Effectively, he's a ticking time bomb because of what happened as a child."
But his attack could have killed them.
"It really was just a matter of luck that there was not a fatality," sentencing Judge Philip Connell said.
Wallace had pleaded guilty to the three charges for sentencing: wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, injuring with intent to injure and assault with a weapon.
A rent payment reminder from his mother is said to have tipped him over the edge on August 17, 2016.
After a home-cooked dinner, the pair ended up in a long argument about Wallace's life and how he hated being in Whangamata, Connell said.
Raised voices escalated to shouting and Wallace's stepfather broke up the argument.
About 8pm, Wallace took a metre-long metal pipe from the garage and walked up directly behind his mother and stepfather as they watched TV.
"Without any warning, you swung the pipe at [your stepfather], striking him across the head whilst the victim was in the chair."
Wallace's mother jumped up to stop him, only to be hit on her head herself, knocking her to the floor.
Wallace kept beating his stepfather until he was slumped in the recliner chair.
His mother "was afraid you were going to kill her or [your stepfather]", and called the police at a neighbour's house, Connell said.
After the attack, Wallace put the pipe under his bed and used a hunting knife to attack a garage door and his mother's vehicle.
Wallace's stepfather suffered multiple skull fractures and bleeding to the brain, and was airlifted to Auckland City Hospital.
Wallace's mother's injuries included bruising to her forehead and torso and suspected cracked ribs.
Wallace had few previous convictions and none since 2000, Connell said.
"Your upbringing was a difficult one ... You seem to have been the subject of considerable denigration of character and that you have suffered mentally as a result."
He also noted a psychologist's report confirmed Wallace had PTSD.
But he used a weapon in his premeditated attack on the unsuspecting sexagenarians and directed blows at their heads, Connell said.
One victim needed ongoing surgery and both were dealing with the psychological effects from the attack, prosecutor Catherine Ure said.
It was unprovoked, prolonged violence, she said, and if the PTSD diagnosis were to be considered in sentencing, there should be a clear link with the offending.
Two relatives spoke in support of Wallace, saying the altercation shattered the family but wasn't a surprise because of how he had been treated.
Wallace "was demeaned all the time" growing up, McIvor said.
"The argument overwhelmed him to the point that he barely realised what was happening."
Connell's starting point for the lead charge - wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm - was 10 years in jail.
Deductions for information in the psychologist reports, the PTSD diagnosis, and Wallace's guilty pleas reduced the sentence to 6½ years.
Wallace was sentenced to three years in prison on the other two charges, to be served concurrently.