Detention for man who mugged Hayden
A Christchurch man who stole a phone, a cask of wine and an iPod from murder victim Hayden Miles hours before the teenager died has been sentenced to nine months' home detention.
Timothy John Kuka, 36, of Parklands, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of demanding with menaces, when his interim name suppression was lifted.
The incident sparked the chain of events that eventually led to Hayden's brutal killing by Gavin John Gosnell.
Kuka was a friend of Gosnell, who is serving a life sentence, with a non-parole period of 18 years, for murdering Hayden, 15, in August 2011.
Gosnell repeatedly punched, kicked and tortured Hayden in his Cashel St flat, and on finding the the boy dead on a couch the next day, dismembered his body and buried the remains in two cemetery graves.
Hayden had gone to Gosnell's flat after the incident involving Kuka outside the Eastgate Shopping Centre.
Gosnell had pointed Hayden out to Kuka from the mall car park.
Kuka punched Hayden and stole his cellphone and iPod, and a cask of wine he had stolen from a supermarket.
Hayden, upset after being robbed, was assisted by a passer-by and was able to use her phone to call his mother before he walked to Gosnell's flat.
He went there because he was friends with Gosnell's then-girlfriend, Nicolette Vaux-Phillips, who was also living at the flat.
Kuka was solemn at his sentencing today as Hayden's family read victim-impact statements.
Hayden's mother, Jacqui Miles, said the last phone call she got from Hayden that night telling her he had been jumped from behind would "always haunt me".
Kuka's assault would have been "terrifying" for her son.
She said she was glad that his sentencing today meant all those who hurt her son that night were punished.
"Kuka, you are a grown man of 38. Shame on you. I hope you will never hurt another boy like this again," she said.
"We finally have justice for Hayden, but it doesn't bring him back."
A statement read on behalf of Hayden's father said he was disturbed by Kuka's "calculated and premeditated" robbery.
"I'm sickened you would use violence against a defenceless boy," he said.
"You valued my son's wellbeing below a few possessions. His last few hours were marred by your cowardice," he said.
Sentencing Kuka, Judge Raoul Neave said he had an "appalling record" with a 14-page criminal history, including violence and dishonesty, but this had reduced significantly since 2000.
Kuka could not be held responsible for the murder which followed his actions, but Hayden's family's comments were valid in that the boy's last hours were "tragically coloured by your random act of violence".
Kuka had limited insight into his offending but had expressed a desire to "face up" to those involved.
Neave told Kuka to be more careful about who he associated with in future, as those he associated with in 2011 were clearly among the "least desirable" in society.
Kuka was originally charged with robbery, but this was withdrawn and replaced with the demanding-with-menaces charge.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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