Thomas Ray is sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua.
Photo: Stephen Parker
A Kawerau man who plunged a carving knife through a
relative's neck as he sat eating dinner has been sentenced to
life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 10 and
Thomas Edward Ray, 32, appeared for sentencing in the High
Court at Rotorua today for the murder of Gareth Lardelli
Kaipara, 23, at Ray's Holyoake Cres home on January 10 last
year. Ray had pleaded guilty to the charge last month.
Justice Geoffrey Venning said the sentence for murder was
life imprisonment and the only issue to decide was the length
of the minimum non-parole period.
Ray would be subject to recall to prison at any time for the
rest of his life after his eventual release, Justice Venning
He described the offending as "vicious and violent".
"It was an obviously deliberate act but not with a great deal
A probation report said Ray, who was diagnosed with
depression and schizophrenia, had a high risk of
Ray and Mr Kaipara, who were related through Ray's adoptive
mother Janet Kohunui, had been drinking heavily and fighting
with each other during the day leading up to the murder,
Justice Venning said.
The fighting between the men had become serious leaving Ray
temporarily unconscious and with a broken leg, before they
both went inside to eat dinner with Mrs Kohunui and Ray's
During the meal Ray moved behind Mr Kaipara and grabbed a
carving knife from the bench.
He began to sharpen the knife before plunging it through Mr
Kaipara's neck up to the hilt, extending the point of the
blade on the other side, cutting his voice box and jugular.
As Mr Kaipara lay on the floor Ray continued to yell at him
and stopped his mother from helping.
"Although you said afterwards you never intended to murder Mr
Kaipara you must have known that a stabbing in this manner
would kill someone," Justice Venning said.
Crown prosecutor Heidi Wrigley said the murder was highly
deliberate and premeditated, and happened in front of a
9-year-old boy who had regarded Ray as a role model.