17 Feb 2015

Man jailed for homeless man's murder

11:36 pm on 17 February 2015

The father of a man who beat a homeless man to death in Auckland last year pleaded for mercy from the judge today before his son was sentenced for murder.

Justin Vance Turner, 29, kicked and punched 48-year-old Maqbool Hussain, stomping on his head and neck in an hour-long attack in March last year.

Turner later told police he was after money and cigarettes.

He pleaded guilty to murder last year and was sentenced to life in prison, to serve a minimum of 15 years, at the High Court in Auckland today.

The senior Mr Turner, whose first name was not given in court, said he would take his son's place in prison if he could.

He said he partly blamed himself for his son's actions, as he had had bouts of violence himself, and a number of jail terms.

He said his son became more violent after he was thrown out of the family home at the age of 19.

"My wife had him thrown out. He was begging on the steps of our home for me to let him in.

"For a misdemeanour, he had stolen my wife's then wedding rings. And I didn't, I just let him go. And I think this affected him, and he thought his dad didn't love him anymore," he said.

In court today, victim support officer Marissa MacAuley Reid read a victim impact statement from Mr Hussain's family.

"I've always liked my brother and he stayed with me as my right arm, and helped me many times.

"I have lost a dearly loved brother and my children have lost a beloved uncle.

"The impact of his death cannot be expressed fully in words. It's a great loss for all of us, and his relatives in Pakistan."

Turner was described as having an extensive criminal history, with 110 previous convictions, including 22 assaults, and was on bail for a breach of parole when he killed Mr Hussain.

He had since written to Mr Hussain's family to apologise, and said he would spend time in prison trying to change his life for the better.