Dunedin gang member jailed for spree of violence

In 2012, Trevor Clarke said he wanted his facial tattoos removed. He now has even more. PHOTO:...
In 2012, Trevor Clarke said he wanted his facial tattoos removed. He now has even more. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A gang member who stood over a disabled man to take his $17,000 motorbike has been jailed for nearly three years.

Trevor Tauta Clarke’s recent spree of violence showed a worryingly escalating trend in his criminality, Judge Michael Turner told the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

The 51-year-old — who has a conviction for manslaughter — pleaded guilty to eight charges spanning four incidents, all of which occurred when he was supposed to be serving a rehabilitative sentence for previous crimes.

The heavily-tattooed Mongrel Mob member turned up at a Dunedin home on March 21 with two associates.

They knocked on the door and barged their way in when the resident opened up.

Clarke followed the victim — who has significant mobility issues — into his bedroom and held a knife to his neck, until he handed over the keys to his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

One of the associates started the bike but the owner was reluctant to let it go, standing in front of the vehicle to stop him leaving.

"Let him leave or I’ll stick you," Clarke said.

The victim did as he was told and the $17,000 motorbike was never recovered, nor was his cellphone, which was also taken by the trio.

Judge Turner said the man was left wondering why he had been targeted and suffered repeated flashbacks of the ordeal.

The bike was subject to finance and uninsured, so the victim continued to pay it off, the court heard.

There were other violent incidents in the months leading up to the stand-over.

In October last year, in Oamaru, Clarke brandished a 10-inch spanner while in full gang regalia and threatened to "deal with" a 63-year-old man.

A week later he confronted someone wearing blue, standing outside a fast-food restaurant.

Clarke was seen "dancing around like a boxer", attempting to throw punches at the victim until the man’s friends showed up and saw the defendant off.

Later, uninvited, Clarke went to a St Patrick’s Day party at a Dunedin flat where he pulled out a flick knife and barked like a dog when he was asked to leave.

Counsel Meg Scally put his aggression down to a head injury he sustained in a car crash in 2021.

There was also a cultural report before the court which detailed the dysfunction and loss Clarke had suffered as a child.

However, the judge said the defendant’s claims that he planned to leave the mob and address his addiction issues had a "hollow ring" given comments he earlier made to Probation minimising his crimes.

Clarke was jailed for two years and 11 months.