Waikato gang boss sentenced for McLaren Falls manslaughter killed before

A Waikato gang boss sentenced for manslaughter in the High Court in Hamilton had killed before.

Leon Colin Wilson will spend 13 years behind bars for killing, kidnapping and conspiring to defeat the course of justice of Ngaruawahia father Mitchell Paterson.

He was sentenced to 13 years for manslaughter, five years for kidnapping, two years for conspiring, and three years for firearm against police. He will serve these sentences concurrently.

Crown Prosecutor Rebecca Guthrie told the court Wilson was out on parole at the time of his offending, having previously spent time behind bars for murder, rape and robbery.

He was released on parole in 2011 and has four convictions for breach of conditions.

Following his release, Guthrie said he had managed to become the president of the Waikato chapter of the Nomads Gang. 

Paterson's body was wrapped in tarpaulin and dumped below the McLaren Falls Bridge in the early hours of July 13 last year. Wilson ordered a group to pick up Paterson and bring him to his gang pad after hearing rumors he had been badmouthing him. During that pick up, Paterson died while being put in a headlock.

Mitchell Paterson.
Mitchell Paterson. Photo credit: Facebook / Mitchell Paterson.

During sentencing Wilson's lawyer Roger Laybourn told the court "Mr Wilson had no wish for this man to lose his life." 

He added that "he wanted to talk to someone that was live." 

Wilson was not in the car during the time of Paterson's death, but the jury found him guilty of manslaughter because of his role in ordering the pick up. 

Wilson was found guilty during a jury trial earlier this year alongside two other co-offenders. 

Pateron's parents and the mother of his seven-year-old daughter read victim impact statements to the court. 

His father, Craig Paterson, called them "cowards". 

Christopher Ramia Smith was sentenced to six years for his role. He was found guilty of manslaughter and kidnapping.

Chloe Nardiah Leigh Kerridge was handed down a sentence of two years in prison for kidnapping and conspiring to defeat justice.

Wilson parole board decision

In a decision relating to a hearing on February 22, 2017, the parole board said Wilson had "satisfied us that he at present meets the statutory criteria for release on parole".

"He would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community provided that he faithfully complied with the standard and special conditions and engaged positively with his Probabtion Officer," the decision says.

The decision notes that he had been serving a life sentence for murder imposed on August 22, 1996. His parole elgibility date was November 2014. 

He had previously been released on parole twice and recalled twice. He was convicted of assault in 2014 while on parole, leading to a recall.

"He well knows, having been recalled twice, that the consequences of his risk escalating to undue, would mean further immediate recall".

The decisions said he would be released in March 2017 on conditions including:

  • Undertaking counselling
  • Residing at an approved address between 10pm and 6am
  • Not purchasing or consuming alcohol or drugs
  • Not contacting or associating with victims of offending without permission from a probation officer
  • Not communicating with or associating with members of the Nomad gang without permission from a probation officer

The board said that Wilson had previously been making good progress with a reintegration pathway. It also said he had good community support, ongoing employment with Release to Work employers, and that his proposed accomodation would be suitable for electronic monitoring.