Canterbury teenager Heath Morris jailed for life for murdering 20-year-old Oliver Johnston

Heath Morris, left, on Friday was jailed for a minimum of 13 years for murdering his friend Oliver Johnston, right.
Heath Morris, left, on Friday was jailed for a minimum of 13 years for murdering his friend Oliver Johnston, right. Photo credit: Photos - Newshub and Facebook

A Canterbury teenager who killed his best friend as he slept has been jailed for 13 years and six months.

Heath Morris, 19, on Friday was jailed for a minimum of 13 years, six months for the murder of Oliver Johnston, 20.

The High Court in Christchurch heard Morris had been using alcohol and taking cannabis and ecstasy, as Justice Rachel Dunningham imposed a life term for murder with a non-parole term of 13 years, six months.

As the sentencing began, Johnston's family said they had seen no sign of any remorse from Morris in the 10 months since the murder.

On Friday, Morris apologised to the family of Johnston, who he bashed to death in his sleep.

Oliver Johnston was described as friendly and outgoing in victim impact statements.
Oliver Johnston was described as friendly and outgoing in victim impact statements. Photo credit: Supplied

Justice Dunningham said it had been a "brutal, unprovoked attack on someone who you were his friend".

Four victim impact statements were read in court. Johnston was described as a talented musician, playing piano and singing for his grandmother when he visited her at her rest home.

Picture of Heath Morris.
Heath Morris bashed Johnston to death while he slept at a property in North Canterbury last year. Photo credit: Newshub.

He had been friendly and outgoing and had been helping disabled skiers at Mt Hutt.

Justice Dunningham told family members they had honoured Johnston with the poise and dignity they had shown in reading their victim impact statements.

Morris bashed Johnston to death while he slept at a property in Woodend after a party they had attended in a paddock near a forest in Webbs Road, Amberley.

They arrived independently about 7pm. From then until 1am, Morris drank 12 Woodstock bourbon and cola pre-mixed drinks. There had been a confrontation with another group at the party.

Morris had repeatedly spoken about killing Johnston as they drove from the party to where they spent the night.

Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said the pre-sentence report on Morris provided no real explanation and the "terrible crime" remained unexplained.

Newshub.

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