A man who kicked his best friend in the head three times, fracturing his skull, has been jailed for six and a half years.
The jail term was imposed on John Douglas Murdo, also known as McMurdo, 27, who had admitted intentionally wounding the victim, who suffered multiple skull fractures and bruising to most of his face and to his body.
Judge David Holderness warned him that with his record of violence, if he offended again he could be considered for an open-ended preventive detention sentence.
Murdo has a history of epilepsy arising from an attack by a gang member when he was a teenage runaway, after which he had to have titanium plates put in his head.
His defence counsel, Tony Garrett, told of Murdo's history of "oversight or detention" from the age of 8.
He had been moved often, and a one-year placement with a Christian couple in Central Otago had ended abruptly when they wanted to adopt him and Murdo's mother would not agree.
When he ran away from care at the age of 14 he had been supplied with liquor and then gravely assaulted by a gang member.
"These matters in his background have resulted in a very aggressive response," Garrett said.
He had met a woman and for a time had worked on a North Canterbury farm, and had not offended.
He had then been diagnosed with a debilitating illness that would eventually lead to fusion of the spine and paralysis.
At that stage he lost his job, lost the support of his partner and went into a state of deep depression. That led to him returning to what he had always done - alcohol abuse and horrendous offending.
Garrett asked the judge not to raise Murdo's sentence for his past convictions.
"He's been punished more than most for what he has done in the past," he said.
Judge Holderness said Murdo had been invited to the friend's home to continue a drinking session on April 26.
As soon as Murdo and an associate arrived, the victim was attacked while his pregnant wife and two children were at the house.
He was punched and then sat on by the associate while Murdo kicked him in the head at least three times, causing multiple skull fractures.
The judge said he had never heard an explanation of why the attack occurred.
The victim had headaches, memory loss, loss of focus and had been unable to continue working.
The attack had a serious impact on the man's wife and the son who witnessed the assault.
Murdo's record in the district court began in 2003 with convictions for threatening to kill, presenting a firearm, assault, robbery, several assaults on women, assault with intent to injure and assault with a weapon.
"You have a substantial and worrying history of violent offending. What happened on April 26 could be seen as history repeating itself," the judge said.
He said Garrett's submissions had been "some of the most eloquent and impressive I have heard from defence counsel for some considerable time".
The judge noted Murdo's problems with alcohol abuse and an inability to control his violent behaviour.
He suggested that while in prison Murdo undergo special rehabilitation and drug-treatment programmes.
He said that he had considered sentencing Murdo to the High Court, where preventive detention could be imposed.
"If you are convicted of a further offence of serious violence you will be at risk of preventive detention," he said.
- (Live Matches)
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