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Man Gets Life For "Savage And Disgusting" Murder

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Man Gets Life For "Savage And Disgusting" Murder

Wellington, Dec 11 NZPA - The niece of a woman beaten to death and stuffed in a wardrobe described her aunt's murder as "savage and disgusting" at her killer's sentencing today.

Hutt Valley man Malcolm Ngeru, 43, was jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years when he appeared for sentence at the High Court in Wellington after being found guilty in October of murdering his partner Mihi Tuhoro, 48.

During the trial, the court was told Ngeru killed Ms Tuhoro during an argument in June last year and then hid her body in a wardrobe at the couple's flat.

When her body was discovered a month later, a post mortem showed she had a number of injuries, including the severe skull fracture and bleeding on the brain which led to her death.

Ms Tuhoro's niece, Gordene Tuhoro, today told the court her aunt's "savage and disgusting" murder had thrust her into a depression that did not appear to have an end.

"It's overwhelming and impossible to understand," she said.

"My smiles have been replaced by a crippling grief, the world has lost its spark for me."

Ngeru's actions in leaving her aunt's body in the wardrobe had taken away the family's opportunity to say goodbye properly, she said.

"You robbed her of her mana by leaving her to rot."

She asked Justice Denis Clifford to sentence him in a way that would show others like Ngeru beating women was not okay.

Ms Tuhoro's sister, Mary Wansbrough, also spoke at the sentencing, telling Ngeru the pain he had caused her and her whanau was unbearable.

"You, Malcolm Ngeru, murdered my baby sister and then dragged her and put her in your wardrobe to rot," Ms Wansbrough said through tears.

As Ms Wansbrough turned her body to direct her words at Ngeru, Justice Denis Clifford asked her to face the court rather than Ngeru.

"I want to talk to him," she replied.

Ngeru did not react as the pair read their statements, nor did he respond as his sentence was handed down.

In sentencing Ngeru, Justice Clifford said he took into account the particularly brutal nature of Ms Tuhoro's death, saying her injuries were similar to that which she would have suffered in a high-speed crash.

He also made mention of Ngeru's lengthy history of previous convictions, including several vicious assaults in recent years.

In line with the Crown's submissions, Justice Clifford said he felt the minimum 10-year non-parole period that went with a life sentence was insufficient, increasing the period to 12 years for Ngeru.

However, he told the family no sentence for murder could bring any sense of peace for a grieving family.

Speaking outside court, Ms Tuhoro's family cried and said the sentence was not enough.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust's Garth McVicar said the sentence was an insult to the family. "Is 12 years really what Ms Tuhoro's life was worth?"


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