Five years' jail time for part in murder cover-up

  • 23/02/2016
Matthew Stevens
Matthew Stevens

A man involved in the attempted cover-up of the 2014 killing of a Lower Hutt man will spend just over five years behind bars.

Darrin John Wilkie-Morris, 25, has been sentenced in the High Court at Wellington today to five years and one month in prison after previously admitting charges of injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and being an accessory after the fact to murder.

He is the third and final person to be sentenced for his part in the November 2014 murder of Matthew Stevens, whose body and car were pushed off a cliff on the Paekakariki Hill Road to try and fool police.

Stuart Graham Wilton, who pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Stevens, was last year jailed for at least 11 years.

Kelly Leigh Crook, Wilkie-Morris' partner, was sentenced last week to three years and four months in prison after she admitted charges of causing grievous bodily harm with the intent to injure and being an accessory after the fact to murder.

Handing down Wilkie-Morris' sentence, Justice Denis Clifford said Mr Stevens' family and friends have suffered significant trauma as a result of his "violent and pointless death" and the callous way his body was dealt with afterwards.

Justice Clifford said Wilkie-Morris has showed little, if any, remorse for his actions.

"I know you haven't had an easy life, but these actions were very, very sad indeed," he said.

On the night he was killed, Crook lured Mr Stevens to her Kapiti Coast home, where Wilkie-Morris and Wilton were waiting to confront him.

Wilkie-Morris hit Mr Stevens on the head and knee with a hammer, while Wilton inflicted the fatal stab wounds.

The trio cleaned up the house and Mr Stevens' body was bundled into the back of a van.

Mr Stevens' body and car were dumped off the Paekakariki Hill Road to try and make it look like he had died in a car crash.

His stab wounds were discovered in a post-mortem examination.