Victim called 'dead man walking'

Last updated 05:00 08/12/2012

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An Ohai man who threatened to shoot a man, telling him he was a "dead man walking", before pistol-whipping and attacking another causing him to scream and beg for mercy has been sent to jail.

Daniel Nelson Sparks appeared before Judge Phil Moran yesterday in the Invercargill District Court and was sentenced to three years and six months' jail for wounding with intent to injure, threatening to kill, possessing an offensive weapon namely a bat, possessing a pistol with reckless disregard for the safety of others and possessing a pistol on November 13 last year. He was also given a three strikes warning.

Sparks had admitted the offending before trial.

Another man, Peter James Abraham, stood trial in relation to the matter in October and was found not guilty on the charges he faced.

Judge Moran said Sparks had a history of conflict with an Ohai couple.

On the evening of November 13, while intoxicated and on his way home, Sparks stood outside the couple's house and hurled abuse at them. He threatened the man and told him he was a dead man walking, the judge said.

Sparks threatened to kill him and demanded he come outside and "take it like a man", Judge Moran said.

The victim was concerned and went outside so the line of fire was directed at him and not the house, he said. "This was a very terrifying episode for both he and his wife . . . he thought his days were up."

Another man who lived nearby heard the commotion and came to see what was happening when he noticed Sparks threatening with firearms. He went up behind Sparks and took the gun but Sparks swung around and pistol-whipped him striking him about the head and kicked him until he rolled over, Judge Moran said.

"He was screaming and begging for mercy. He crawled away. He expected at any moment to be shot in the back," the judge said.

The man suffered several cuts and lacerations and his left eye was damaged. He was referred to an eye specialist in Dunedin. He continually suffered headaches and had permanent scarring to the left side of his face, the judge said.

Sparks' lawyer Simon Claver said his client accepted the offending was serious and offered a $3000 cheque in reparation.

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- The Southland Times

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