A teenager who took his step-brother's life in a moment
of "gut-wrenching stupidity" will have to live with that
forever, a court has heard.
Colt Arthur Murcott, 19, was sentenced in the High Court at
Rotorua today to three years and two months in prison.
He had previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of
Katikati 16-year-old Ricky Pettigrew, two charges each of
driving with excess blood alcohol causing injury and reckless
driving causing injury, and one charge of failing to stop
after an accident.
About 1am on October 28 last year Murcott, who had drunk 10
stubbies of beer, performed a hand-brake skid on a gravel
stretch of Hikorangi Rd, despite pleas from passengers to
He lost control of the car and it crashed into a tree. Mr
Pettigrew, a rear seat passenger, died at the scene and two
other passengers were injured.
Murcott fled the scene, after offering one of the passengers
$150 to "take the rap" for him. He was found several hours
later and admitted what he'd done.
In court today, Tauranga Crown prosecutor Hayley Sheridan
said Murcott's blood alcohol level at the time of the crash
was estimated to have been 191 milligrams per 100 millilitres
of blood. The limit for under 20-year-olds is zero, while the
adult limit is 80 milligrams.
Mr Pettigrew's mother, Donna Rewa, read her victim impact
statement to the court. She said her son was taken away when
he was a baby but they had reconnected when he was 15.
"I miss my son and grieve for him every day," she said.
Ms Rewa said she felt for Murcott and hoped he got the help
and treatment he needed.
Fiona Cotterill then read a victim impact statement on behalf
of her partner, who was Mr Pettigrew's half-brother. She said
his death had devastated them and their children.
She then turned to face Murcott in the dock.
"Colt, we have no hate for you," she said. "This is not the
end of your life. You can move forward and live a good life
and not hurt anyone else."
Murcott's lawyer, Craig Tuck, said it had been a spur of the
moment action mixed with alcohol, immaturity and
"The result [was] essentially cataclysmic," he said. "This is
a case drenched in sadness and remorse."
Justice Simon Moore said the case was tragic for both Mr
Pettigrew's family and Murcott.
"[You] must every day for the rest of your life look back at
what happened that night," he told Murcott.
In reaching the final sentence he gave Murcott credit for his
early guilty plea, youth, good character and remorse.
"You must serve the punishment for your offending because
that is the law of this land," he said.
"The best way that you can atone for the terrible
consequences of that night is for you to lead a positive and
good life on your release."
Murcott was also disqualified from driving for three years
and ordered to pay $93 reparation for blood analyst costs.