Two teenage killers will each spend more than a decade behind
bars for the "brutal, cruel and highly callous" murder of a
south Auckland man.
After a prolonged assault, Tamati Tupe was left dead on a Mt
Wellington street in late September 2012. His killers were
aged 15 and 17.
The pair, John Adams, now 17, and Joel Lo, now 19, were
earlier this year found guilty of the murder.
In the High Court at Auckland today, both were jailed for
life. Adams was given a non-parole period of 14 years and Lo
Justice John Fogarty said Adams was the main offender, having
subjected Mr Tupe, 23, to numerous assaults over a two-hour
period, at three locations.
Lo joined in near the end, claiming at his trial he had only
delivered one blow to the face.
Adams, however, had kicked Mr Tupe's head "like a football"
and punched and stomped him.
"There can be no doubt in your case the you killed Tamati
Tupe," Justice Fogarty told Adams.
"There's no doubt that this prolonged assault by you was
brutal, cruel and highly callous".
Adams had been drinking all day when he killed Mr Tupe, who
the judge said was a "totally innocent young man who gave no
provocation". He was in the area because his car had broken
That morning Adams' mother got up at 3am and from then on the
family boozed away the hours. Adams estimated he knocked back
50 cans of pre-mix bourbon drinks and smoked half a tinnie of
However, the judge believed Adams was remorseful for what he
had done and gave him some discount in sentencing for his
Justice Fogarty wasn't so convinced by Lo's remorse.
His lawyer Mele Tuilotolava said Lo had turned to God while
in prison and wanted to make an apology in court to Mr Tupe's
family. They decided they weren't ready for that.
Outside court Mr Tupe's brother, Eugene Tupe, said Lo and
Adams deserved their sentences, while his uncle Takapari
Waata thought they deserved more, whatever the judge imposed.
Several members of Mr Tupe's family spoke of the importance
of family in keeping young people on track.
Today's sentencing brought the "sad and tragic case'' to
conclusion, police said.
Counties-Manukau Detective Inspector Dave Lynch said police
wanted to pay tribute to Tamati Tupe, an ``all round nice
guy'' who had a promising career as a mechanic.
Mr Tupe had turned his life around after a tough start,
losing both parents at an early age, Mr Lynch said.
His brother Maurice died in a car accident, and another
family member who cared for him died soon after that.
"After growing up in these challenging circumstances, Tamati
went on to become someone who was regarded as an all round
nice guy and had a promising career as a mechanic.
"His life and story could well have been an inspiration to us
all and the fact he was killed in such a senseless and
barbaric manner is a tragedy.''
Mr Lynch thanked Mr Tupe's whanau for their assistance during
the investigation and the trial process "which was no doubt
difficult for them''.
- By Jimmy Ellingham