7 Apr 2011

Teen jailed 8 years for machete attack on policeman

7:08 pm on 7 April 2011

A teenager has been jailed for more than eight years for attempted murder, over a machete attack on a Taihape policeman last year.

Japhet Joseph Simeona, 18, of Fielding, was sentenced at the High Court in Whanganui on Thursday.


Simeona attacked Senior Constable Bruce Mellor from behind after the officer stopped the teenager's car over erratic driving on an isolated country road - chopping at him three times.

Simeona then began to drive off, but saw Mr Mellor move and returned to deliver seven more blows yelling: "Are you dead yet?"

The 57-year-old officer suffered multiple skull and facial fractures and lost part of a hand in the attack near Taihape in December last year.

The prosecution said it was a determined, premeditated and cowardly attempt to murder a policeman carrying out his duty.

The defence agreed it was an extreme attack, but said Simeona should get credit for his youth, remorse, and an early guilty plea.

Justice Dobson said Simeona only escaped a murder charge because of Mr Mellor's resilience and determination, and because he received prompt medical attention.

The judge discounted Simeona's sentence by a quarter for his age and about a year for other factors. The 18-year-old must serve a minimum of half his sentence of eight years and three months before he is considered for parole.

Justice Dobson said Mr Mellor's survival is a credit to the human spirit.