Life in prison for Hamilton street-fight murder

  • 30/10/2015

A teenager has been sentenced to life in prison after shooting another man dead in the Hamilton suburb of Melville earlier this year.

Tyson-Tainui Rukuwai Te Tomo will spend at least 10-and-a-half years behind bars before he is considered eligible for parole.

The 18-year-old shot Michael James Thompson in the face at close range following a violent confrontation between the two men at a Norrie Street property on February 20.

Earlier Te Tomo's associate Mana Williams had been involved in a confrontation with Thompson and his friend Samuel Apanui as they returned home from work on a Friday night.

The fight escalated between the four men and included the use of swords before Mr Thompson was shot in the face with a .22 calibre firearm.

The 29-year-old died in Waikato Hospital a short time later while Te Tomo went on the run before turning himself into police five days later following a man hunt.

Mr Thompson's father David fought back the tears as he read his victim impact of what Michael's death had brought on his family.

"That day I will never forget. It tore a hole in our lives and ripped our family apart. A senseless and unwanted attack on my son by a callous and ruthless murderer.

"My wife, she cries always concerning the things that lead to this day. The pain is so severe it has affected her physical and emotional well-being.

"It has been a very traumatic and difficult time to deal with," Mr Thompson said.

In passing sentence, Justice Anne Hinton rejected Te Tomo's excuses for what he did in the show down between the gang members associated with the Mongrel Mob and Black Power.

"I'm not prepared to treat an insult called out from a car or the other actions of Mr Thompson and Mr Apanui as a triggering event for murder or reducing the level of your offending.

"I do not sense you have genuine remorse in the sense of regret for what you have done to Mr Thompson and his family. You are sorry for the consequences to you," she said.

"I hope you come to the realisation that giving up the gang and living a normal life is what you have to do if you are to have any worthwhile future or make amends for taking Michael's life," Judge Hinton said.

Te Tomo showed little remorse throughout the hearing and poked his tongue out at the gallery as he exited the court room.