24 May 2018

Hawke's Bay teen jailed for life for murder

2:40 pm on 24 May 2018

A 17-year-old who carried out a brutal attack on a man, including stabbing him and stomping on his head to ensure he was dead, has been jailed for life and will spend at least 12 years behind bars.


Photo: Photo NZ

Shaun Karauria was sentenced in the High Court in Napier today for the murder of Sandeep Dhiman last December, to which he had earlier pleaded guilty.

Justice Simon France said Mr Dhiman was effectively set up by Karauria and others, who befriended him in order to steal his car.

He said Mr Dhiman was directed to drive to a remote area, and then he got out of the car with Karauria and they went for a walk and when they were out of sight Karauria attacked him with a knife.

"[You stabbed] him nine times. One of those stab wounds would prove fatal, but not immediately so."

"The victim managed to stagger back to the road, where he collapsed."

Justice France said at that point Karauria launched another attack on Sandeep Dhiman, stomping on his face and head.

"The clear purpose was to make sure he was dead."

"As you then drove off in his car, a companion mentioned the victim had moved, so you again returned and repeated the attack. Mr Dhiman was left where he lay."

A passing truck driver found him 12 hours later.

Justice France said people would struggle to believe such a thing could happen.

"Planning to steal a car is one thing, but literally planning, as you did, to kill the person as well is so callous and unnecessary as to defy belief."

"You had no grudge against him, no reason to do that. And then on the day, as I have described, you carried it out with such terrible determination."

Justice France said the victim's family are devastated and angry that they have lost a son and brother, who came to New Zealand to study.

He said he had a sense of dismay at the completely needless loss of life and the fact a 17-year-old was responsible for that.

Starting from a 17-year minimum jail term the Judge gave Karauria credit for his youth and factors in his upbringing which had contributed significantly to what he did.

"At 11 your father died, and from then on there seems to have been little stability. You lived with your mother for a while but there was conflict with her new partner."

The Judge said Karauria then moved around between family members and left school early with no qualifications.

He said the defendant had spent time living on the street and suffered from depression, had made failed attempts at suicide and had an alcohol problem.

Justice France said in reality Karauria's immaturity meant he did not have an understanding of what it truly meant to kill someone.

"Obviously, you know what death is, but your immaturity means you do not really understand everything that goes with that. You lack an ability to appreciate the dreadful impact of your conduct."

"Despite your actions saying otherwise, you are not an adult. You do not think like one, you are not capable of thinking like one, and culpability is not to be assessed as if you are one."

However Justice France said anything less than 12 years would not reflect the brutal and planned nature of Karauria's offending.

He also imposed a three-year jail sentence for a charge of aggravated robbery which will be served alongside the murder sentence.