By Lydia Anderson
"May you live in hell and then die", a distraught man told the killer of his son-in-law as he was sentenced for manslaughter in a case of misdirected rage.
Matthew Brian Edmonds, 45, was sentenced at the High Court in Auckland to six years and four months in jail for killing his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend Peter Bettink.
In November 2014, Edmonds drove six hours from Whanganui to West Auckland before killing Mr Bettink, after he tried to intervene to stop Edmonds assaulting his former girlfriend.
The court heard Edmonds had previously been living with the woman and her two sons but had moved to Whanganui earlier that year.
However he still believed he was in a relationship with her, and sent her money for one of her sons. He texted her frequently, but she rarely replied, usually only when the texts concerned money.
The woman spent some of the money on gambling and her methamphetamine addiction, the court heard.
Driving to Auckland to confront her, Edmonds instead found Mr Bettink at her house, who let him in and the two men discussed matters over a coffee.
Both realised they had thought they were in a relationship with the woman.
When the woman arrived from buying groceries, Edmonds confronted her in the driveway, and pushed her violently, causing her to fall to the ground.
Mr Bettink intervened, but at this point Edmonds was enraged and rained down forceful blows on his face and head, continuing after he fell to the ground.
One of the blows was so severe it split the front of Mr Bettink's skull in half.
Mr Bettink's family read several victim impact statements in court, saying they would never forgive Edmonds for the attack.
Mr Bettink's former father-in-law Brian Cottrell said Edmonds would "never be forgiven for the grief and suffering he has caused our family".
"May you live in hell and then die," he said, to murmurings from the packed public gallery.
Edmonds' ex-girlfriend said in a statement she suffered permanent damage to her right ear and she and her sons had suffered heartache and ongoing trauma since the killing.
Justice Geoffrey Venning accepted Edmonds regretted the attack almost as soon as it was over and had shown true remorse.
However the assault was "serious and ongoing", he said, and Mr Bettink had not provoked Edmonds.
"Violence in a domestic setting where emotions run high cannot be tolerated," he said.
Edmonds was also sentenced to a three-month concurrent sentence on the charge of male assaults female.