Auckland driver jailed for hitting, killing teen skateboarder Jacob Pakura
A man who killed a teen skateboarder in a hit-and-run collision in West Auckland will spend up to four years behind bars for the crime.
Zhenghang Yu, 34, begged Jacob Pakura's family to forgive him in a letter that was read in court by defence lawyer Michael Kan.
"I wish I could turn the clock back and reverse everything I did," Yu said.
"It was me who tore apart your loving family. Sorry can never be enough for what I did, but I would ask still if you could please forgive me."
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In May, Yu pleaded guilty to killing 16-year-old Jacob Pakura on Rua Rd in New Lynn late on the night of Saturday, January 14.
He was charged with dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop and ascertain injury or death after a crash, and dangerous driving.
He was sentenced at the Auckland District Court on Tuesday morning.
Esther Pakura wept as she read a victim impact statement aloud in court, describing her son as a natural-born leader with a zest for life.
"Life had so much in store for him," she said. "He didn't hold grudges, even against the people who treated him unfairly.
"There were so many wonderful qualities that Jacob possessed. We've tried to list them all, but if you knew him you'd know it does not do him justice."
Yu stared straight ahead as Esther Pakura described how her son had died just minutes from the family home.
"Shortly before his death Jacob had made plans to meet his friends in Glen Eden, and only a few moments after leaving our home he was run down from behind," she said.
"Our family has been left with a gaping hole. It really hurts that our beautiful boy has been taken from our lives."
Yu did not stop at the scene of the crash, and later said he did not remember hitting and killing Pakura. He was driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding at around 70 kilometres per hour in a 50 kmh zone.
He was identified following a public plea from the teen's family for information that could help reveal the identity of their son's killer.
Speaking outside court after sentencing, detective sergeant Ash Matthews of Waitakere Area CIB said it had taken a lot of police work to bring Yu to account.
"I would especially like to acknowledge the Waitakere community for their assistance in this investigation," he said. "It was outstanding, and led directly to the subsequent arrest of the offender.
"While it should go without saying, we would remind everybody that it is your responsibility if you are involved in any kind of accident to stop and check on the welfare of anyone else involved."
Pakura was found lying unconscious on the road following the crash. Emergency services tried to revive him at the scene, but were unable to save his life.
Yu is a Chinese national, but has been a New Zealand resident for nearly nine years and was working as a truck driver at the time.
He is married with two young children, and Judge Brooke Gibson acknowledged that a prison sentence would impose financial hardship on his family.
However he also noted Yu had prior convictions for dangerous driving and driving with excess breath alcohol, and said the repeat offender needed to take responsibility for his actions.
"You killed through your driving a 16-year-old boy… and left him lying on the side of the road with serious injuries," Gibson said.
Judge Gibson started from an initial sentence of five years for Yu, discounted to four years because he pleaded guilty.
Yu was also disqualified from driving for four years.