27 Jul 2018

Teen involved in 'brutal' murder sentenced to life imprisonment

5:31 pm on 27 July 2018

The judge who sentenced a a Hawke's Bay teenager to life in prison for planning the murder of man she met on Tinder has described his killing as "callous" and "brutal".


Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Rosie Lewis was today sentenced to a minimum non-parole period of 11 years in the High Court in Napier after last month pleading guilty to robbing and murdering 30-year-old Indian national, Sandeep Dhiman.

Mr Dhiman's body was found in a ditch in Tutira, 40 minutes north of Napier, in December last year, after he was stabbed and kicked by Lewis' co-offender 17-year-old Shaun Karauria.

Karauria was last month sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years.

Dressed in a blue denim shirt, Lewis sat in the dock and showed no emotion as Justice David Collins described how Lewis, who was 17 at the time, arranged the murder days in advance.

Justice Collins said Mr Dhiman experienced a slow, violent and painful death. Karauria stabbed him nine times with such force the handle of the knife broke off, he said.

Mr Dhiman was then left to die but managed to stagger back to his vehicle where he called for help.

"His head was then stomped on, on two separate occasions."

Lewis' role in his death showed "complete contempt for his life and a total lack of humanity," Justice Collins said.

"Not only did you stand by fully aware and do nothing, you actively alerted Mr Karauria that Mr Dhiman was still alive so he could return and inflict further violence."

Crown prosecutor Steve Manning argued Lewis should be given the same sentence as Karauria, claiming she was the mastermind who manipulated him into committing the murder.

Lewis' defence lawyer, Matt Phelps, did not oppose life in prison, but argued Karauria should be given a reduced non-parole period because of her young age, learning difficulties and upbringing.

Mr Dhiman's two brothers watched the sentencing via a video link from Sydney, and Justice Collins read victim impact statements from his family, including from his mother who found out about his death on his birthday.

"She says her son was a cheerful and happy person who left a positive impact on everyone around him. She is devastated and says she can no longer live an ordinary life, as her son's death will haunt her everyday."

Starting from a minimum non-parole period of 16 years, Justice Collins took off five years for her age and troubled background, which included drinking alcohol and taking methamphetamine and synthetic cannabis from age 14.

Members of Lewis' family wept as the sentence was read out.

She was also sentenced to three years in prison for aggravated robbery, which will be served concurrently.