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Family Says No Jail Sentence Long Enough For Killers

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Dunedin, Oct 21 NZPA - The sister and mother of slain Balclutha teenager Michael Hutchings say no jail sentences for those involved in his killing would be enough.

"I don't think anything was going to be enough," a still visibly shaken Lyn Hutchings, Mr Hutchings' mother, told media in Dunedin today.

"Nothing can replace Michael."

This morning a 38-year-old man was jailed for 13 years, and his female associate for two, for their part in the murder of the South Otago teenager in January.

Mr Hutchings was fatally stabbed on January 7 and his weighted and cloth-wrapped body recovered from the Clutha River five days later.

"Nothing will ever be enough you want people like that to go away forever, " Mr Hutchings 17-year-old sister Sarah said.

The woman's sentence of two years for had hurt the most, she said.

"In two years I'm still going to be in Dunedin still going through uni. Two years is nothing."

Mrs Hutchings, who lives with her other four children and husband in Australia, said it had been hard in being in Australia and having to rely on media for their information.

"It's been hard on the (other teeenage children).

"They are finding it quite difficult. It's time that's going to be the healer."

It was disappointing too that they would never know the actual truth of why their son and brother was murdered.

"There has been so many different stories, so many different versions and none of them actually add up to anything," Miss Hutchings said.

"That's the hardest thing is not knowing why, we've got to live with that the rest of our lives."

Justice Graham Panckhurst said at sentencing today it was unclear why 18-year-old Mr Hutchings had been killed, but he considered there had been a fair measure of planning by both parties following the murder.

And he criticised them for their manipulation of Sarah Hutchings'.

Both had contacted her and misled her about the fate of her brother, telling her he was still alive but had left the area, when he was already dead.

The 38-year-old man admitted responsibility for murdering the youth, but his 30-year-old partner denied any involvement in the killing.

She later admitted being an accessory after the fact to the murder although she claimed she had done nothing to assist the man in disposing of the body except drive the vehicle to the river.

During extended evidence in the High Court in Dunedin on Monday, the woman claimed her involvement was reluctant and under threat from the man.

But Justice Panckhurst said today the woman's version of events was "glib" and "self-serving". Given the weight of the two metal bars, 51kg each, he believed she was "fully involved" in the disposal of the body.

The names of both parties remain suppressed because of other matters still before the court.

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