Killer gets home detention after returning to violent ways

Mark Carruthers (27) was sentenced to eight months’ home detention this week. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
Mark Carruthers (27) was sentenced to eight months’ home detention this week. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
Nine years after his beating led to the death of a man, Mark Robert Carruthers attacked another in an almost identical way.

The 27-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court this week after pleading guilty to assault with intent to injure and wilful damage.

While the incident did not cause severe harm to his victim, it had eerie similarities to an episode on April 14, 2011, which led to Carruthers being convicted of the manslaughter of 23-year-old Jamie Ellis.

After a party in Oamaru, Carruthers was driven to Warrington by his father while Peter Richard Holmes (34) took Mr Ellis.

Without warning, the pair laid into their victim.

Carruthers, Justice Lester Chisholm said at sentencing, kicked and punched the victim before withdrawing from the attack.

Holmes used a steel bar to beat Mr Ellis to death.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 12 years and Carruthers was jailed for two years.

"It will, of course, be on your conscience that you played a role in awful events that led to the death of a person," Justice Chisholm told Carruthers.

"You can, however, recover from his bad episode in your life."

Nearly a decade on, that appeared not to be the case.

On April 20, during Alert Level 4 lockdown, Carruthers argued outside his home with a friend.

He punched the victim in the face several times and continued the violence as the man was defenceless on the ground, the court heard.

The defendant kicked him twice in the ribs and pursued the man as he tried to flee.

Carruthers pushed his victim over again and continued the blows until police were called.

Justice Chisholm, at the manslaughter sentencing in 2012, urged the defendant to get on top of his alcohol problem but it seemed that, too, had not been addressed.

Several hours after his most recent assault, after drinking, Carruthers drove to his ex-partner’s home and was promptly told to leave.

He implied that he would arrange for the woman’s car to be stolen before deliberately reversing into her vehicle and driving off.

Judge Michael Turner said Carruthers’ history showed "a propensity for violence at a high level".

The victim of the assault suffered bruising and headaches, and said he was angry and disappointed to be beaten up by someone he had considered "a mate".

Their friendship was now over, the court heard.

Counsel Brendan Stephenson said his client was determined to overcome his issues with alcohol and also hoped to get grief counselling for a string of recent bereavements.

Carruthers was sentenced to eight months’ home detention and 150 hours’ community work.

He was ordered to pay his ex-girlfriend $1000 for the damage to her car.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

 

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