Sentence cut for ‘extremely violent’ man

An "extremely violent" hammer-wielding Southland man who attacked his partner for 15 minutes has had his prison sentence reduced.

Daniel Ross Murch, 30, appeared in the Invercargill District Court in February after admitting a serious attack on his partner.

Judge Duncan Harvey sentenced him to three years and one month imprisonment.

But a successful High Court appeal this month resulted in six months being shaved off.

Justice Jason McHerron ruled that Judge Duncan Harvey erred in his methodology, meaning the end sentence was too long.

The High Court found that the judge added two penalties together without considering the overall seriousness of the crimes.

Justice McHerron said the sentence was "wholly out of proportion to the gravity of the overall offending".

Crown prosecutor Mike Brownlie said while the sentence imposed by the District Court judge was "stern", it was within the range available and the discount Murch received for his time on bail was "generous".

Murch earlier admitted four charges of injuring with intent to injure, two of threatening to kill, assaulting a female, taking a vehicle, wilful damage and driving charges.

On January 8, 2021, the defendant had an argument with his partner at a Dacre address.

He was intoxicated and began accusing the victim of infidelity before snatching her car keys.

Murch threw several punches, then lifted her by the neck and threw her to the floor.

He continued punching, kicking and stomping on her before picking

up a hammer, threatening to kill her and using it to damage her car.

The woman did not have her keys and was "petrified and too scared to leave the address", the court heard.

After about two hours, the victim climbed out the bathroom window and called police from a neighbour’s house.

The defendant took her vehicle and drove off looking for her. Police located him in Invercargill with a breath-alcohol level of 711mcg.

Judge Harvey described the attack as sustained and "extremely violent", which only by luck did not result in serious injury.

Justice McHerron adjusted the defendant’s prison sentence to two years and seven months.

— Felicity Dear, PIJF court reporter