12 Apr 2017

Killer swears at victim's mother during sentencing

10:15 pm on 12 April 2017

A former head altar boy has been jailed for at least 19 years for what the judge described as a shockingly brutal and callous kidnapping and murder of his close friend.

Exterior of the High Court in Auckland

Michael Waipouri was sentenced to life in prison today in the High Court in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Michael Waipouri was last month found guilty of killing Lance Murphy, who he had been friends with for more than 30 years.

He crushed his skull with a baseball bat and a tree branch on a remote hilltop at Wellsford, north of Auckland, in 2015.

Sentencing him to life, Justice Hinton said he acted with savagery when he caved his victim's head in and showed no compassion or remorse.

Waipouri was earlier temporarily ejected from the High Court in Auckland after an angry outburst towards Mr Murphy's family.

Lance Murphy

Lance Murphy Photo: NZ Police

Mr Murphy's 76-year-old mother Mary had been reading her victim impact statement.

She said his injuries had been so bad she had not been allowed to see or touch her son in his coffin.

"He was always helping other people," she said. "He was the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it.

"He was community-minded and looked after the people living around him."

The court heard Waipouri was godfather to two of Mr Murphy's children.

Mr Murphy's daughter, Shralle Murphy, said the men had been best friends and she was struggling with depression as well as explaining the death to Mr Murphy's grandchildren.

His sister, Coralie Murphy, said her cancer had come back after he died, struggling to sleep as she had nightmares about his death.

Waipouri said he saw a dragon with 10 heads coming from his victim's head and said he believed it was "him or me".

His lawyer, David Niven, said the 52-year-old suffered from paranoia and felt threatened because he believed Mr Murphy had killed 10 people including the victim's terminally-ill wife and his mother-in-law.

Justice Hinton said they had both died of natural causes, and the murder had caused "long-lasting and devastating" harm to Mr Murphy's family and friends.