Man's killer sentenced

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 16:55 29/11/2013
Robert Murray Wilkinson
VICTIM: Robert Murray Wilkinson died after being stabbed in the neck and head in Waihi Beach on New Year's Day.
Israel Kaihau
JAILED: Israel Kaihau, 19, has been sentenced to eight years and one month in prison for the manslaughter of Robert Murray Wilkinson, 64.
Luise Wilkinson
PETER DRURY/Fairfax NZ
HAUNTED: Luise Wilkinson leaves the court last month. 

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An 19-year-old Waikato man who plunged a knife into the side of the head of an ex-pat Kiwi, killing him on New Year's Day, has been jailed.

Israel Kaihau of Waihi was in October found not guilty by a jury of the murder of Robert Murray Wilkinson, 64, but guilty of his manslaughter.

In the High Court at Hamilton this afternoon, Justice Robert Dobson sentenced Kaihau to eight years and one month in jail with a minimum non parole period of four years.

In a rare move, Justice Dobson ordered that he begin his sentence once he had finished the sentence he received on earlier charges of assaulting two different women, to recognise the fact Kaihau was on bail when he committed the manslaughter.

Kaihau's lawyer Paul Mabey QC raised an issue of totality - that Kaihau would be punished too severely again for the same crimes - but that was dismissed by Justice Dobson.

Justice Dobson told Kaihau that he dismissed his version of the attack, describing it as "implausible".

Wilkinson's son, Daniel, said the manslaughter verdict did not serve justice for the loss of his father's life. He also told Justice Dobson how the Waihi house, owned by his mother-in-law, where his father died had been the subject of  a cruel prank with fake crime scene tape found outside.

"We're not making people accountable for their actions and we're not making Kaihau accountable for his."

In Mrs Wilkinson's statement, read out by crown prosecutor Ross Douch, she explained how she had been reduced to taking anti-depressants after losing the love of her life. She no longer sleeps properly after hearing extra details during the trial about her husband's death and describes her insomnia, panic attacks, anger and a loneliness "that I could not have asked for or imagined".

"I am serving a life sentence of pain and torture."

Mrs Wilkinson said it was ironic that despite spending about 15 years of their life living and working in third-world countries, that her  husband should die at the hands of one of his countrymen in New Zealand.

"He died owing no one anything but his love."

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Mr Wilkinson was killed as he walked to his caravan parked in the driveway of a Waihi Beach bach he was staying at about 1am on January 1, this year.

Kaihau was hiding in the bushes, trying to evade police, when Mr Wilkinson spotted him, asking him what he was up to.

Mrs Wilkinson testified that she heard her husband tell Kaihau "you can't stay here" and that "we're going to have to report you" to police.

Mrs Wilkinson then heard an "almighty bang", before running outside and seeing her husband up against the garage door with a knife inside the left hand side of his head.

Medical staff found the knife had gone about 8.5 centimetres through Mr Wilkinson's head, slicing through to the other side of his brain.

Kaihau's counsel Paul Mabey QC reminded Justice Dobson that when sentencing Kaihau he should keep in mind that the jury did not find that he used the knife with murderous intent, rather "unjustified".

 Justice Dobson declined to give discounts for his youth and remorse.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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