Ohai man jailed for 'terrifying episode'

Last updated 14:41 07/12/2012

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

Daniel Nelson Sparks appeared before Judge Phil Moran this morning in Invercargill District Court and was sentenced to three and a half years' 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, he 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 ... [the victim] 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 approached Sparks from behind and took the gun but Sparks swung around and pistol-whipped him, striking him about the head and kicking 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."

He 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, he 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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