Woman jailed for Wellington murder cover-up

  • 18/02/2016
Matthew Stevens
Matthew Stevens

A woman who tried to cover up a murder by throwing the body out of a van to make it look like a car accident has been jailed.

Kelly Leigh Crook, 29, was sentenced to three years and four months' jail in the High Court at Wellington today.

She had earlier pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with the intent to injure and being an accessory after the fact to murder.

She was one of three people involved in the killing of Matthew Stevens in November 2014.

One of her co-accused Stuart Graham Wilton, 28, was last year sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 11 years after he pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Stevens.

Mr Stevens was lured into visiting Crooks' Kapiti Coast house so the two men could confront him over an undisclosed issue.

But she was unaware the pair had armed themselves and yelled for one to put down a hammer.

During an argument, Wilton fatally stabbed Mr Stevens three times before his body was bundled into a van and Crook, Wilton and her partner Darrin John Wilkie-Morris cleaned up the house.

Crook's three children were home at the time of the attack.

Mr Stevens' body was thrown out of the van and his vehicle pushed off the Paekakariki Hill Road to try and fool police it was an accident.

It was not until the post-mortem examination that his stab wounds were discovered.

His sister, Emma Stevens, told the court how their family had been devastated by his death.

"I have not been able to move on from the pain and I never will," she said in her victim impact statement.

Justice Susan Thomas sentenced Crook to three years and four months' jail for the grievous bodily harm charge and 22 months for the accessory charge to be served concurrently.

Crook wrote a letter of remorse to Mr Stevens' family to apologise for her role in the murder and how the trio disposed of his body.

The third person, Wilkie-Morris, 24, also pleaded guilty to being an accessory and is due to be sentenced next week.

Both Wilkie-Morris and Crook were originally charged with murder.