Brother jailed for murder

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 09:47 12/07/2014

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A Taumarunui man who shot his brother at point blank range before dragging him behind a car for 1.4 kilometres to the family burial plot says he treated his body that way out of respect.

Benjamin Wikaira, 58, remained expressionless throughout his sentencing for the murder of his brother Nikora, in the High Court at Hamilton yesterday as emotional family members looked on.

Wikaira's lawyer, Kerry Tustin, said her client wanted to bury his brother at the nearby family burial plot which was why he was so desperate to get him there.

However, Justice Pamela Andrews said if he wanted to treat him respectfully, he should have called 111 immediately instead of kicking him in the head and watching him die.

Justice Andrews sentenced Wikaira to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years.

On November 9, last year, Wikaira jumped on his horse armed with a loaded .303 rifle before riding to the house of his cousin, Andrew Ngarotata, to find his brother, Nikora, 59. Benjamin needed money to pay his power bill and asked Nikora where the $6000 was that Benjamin believed he owed him. Nikora went to get up from an armchair in the lounge when Benjamin fired the rifle.

As Nikora fell to the floor, Benjamin kicked him once in the head, before watching him die for the next five minutes.

Justice Andrews said Benjamin Wikaira was the fourth of six boys in his family.

A psychiatrist's report revealed that Benjamin had been abused, humiliated and assaulted by Nikora since childhood. He'd also threatened to kill Benjamin and his daughter.

A letter from the men's older brother, Charles, backed up Benjamin's claims of abuse.

Benjamin's daughter spoke of an "honest, caring, loyal and well-respected man", Justice Andrews said.

Nikora Wikaira's daughter, in her victim impact statement, expressed the "very deep shock" caused to her family by the loss of her father and the grandfather of her children.

Justice Andrews found that although Benjamin's actions were callous, they did not meet the threshold to qualify for a 17-year minimum prison term.

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