'Gratuitous' violence lands man six and a-half years

The company was ordered to pay at the Invercargill District Court this morning. File photo
Invercargill District Court. File photo
A former gang member who threatened a mother in her home and viciously attacked a man in an attempted car-jacking continued his violence in prison, a court has heard. 

Matu Riwai Templeton, 26, was sentenced to six and a-half years’ imprisonment in the Invercargill District Court this morning after pleading guilty to a raft of charges including aggravated robbery and wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The court heard at 1am on June 23, Templeton had an injured face and knocked on the door of an old high-school friend’s house.

She let him inside and allowed him to use her phone.

Later, the defendant told the woman he was taking her phone and laptop.

Templeton presented a large knife and brandished it toward her.

"I will stab you in the head and hurt you," he said.

"You won't be able to see your son in the morning."

The woman’s 18-month-old child was asleep in the house, a police summary said.

The defendant left the house with the victim’s phone and laptop which were still logged into her social media accounts.

During the day, he used the phone to message a man from the woman’s account - pretending to be her.

Templeton arranged to meet the man and when the victim parked up in his car, the defendant got inside and introduced himself as "Matu from school".

The defendant asked the man to drive him to Brown St, which he did, and on the way the victim saw a hammer and a knife inside the defendant’s bag.

When they parked the car, Templeton told the victim to get out then said "this is a standover, give me your car". 

"If you don't hand your car over, I'll hunt you down and kill you," Templeton continued.

"And if you snitch, then you’ll have a target on your back."

The victim told him in strong terms that he would not hand over his vehicle and both men got back inside.

The defendant started attacking the man with a hammer and when the victim tried to escape, he was struck in the face causing a large cut.

The victim, who was bleeding heavily, ran to a friend's house for help and Templeton fled the scene.

Later, the defendant was found by the police and attempted to run away.

After injuring himself while trying to jump a fence, he was arrested.

The victim required surgery and 17 stitches as a result of the assault.

While in custody, Templeton and three other men beat up an inmate in the toilet area.

They took turns striking the man before celebrating with fist bumps.

Counsel Hugo Young told the court that Templeton had since taken an "enormous step" in the right direction and left the gang.

"This is someone who’s come from a severely disadvantaged background," Mr Young said.

"He was set up as pretty much a hopeless case in life."

Judge Duncan Harvey acknowledged Templeton’s deprived background, but said while it offered an explanation for the offending, it did not excuse it.

"This was a sustained attack to this man's head and face," Judge Harvey said.

"The offending and the violence was entirely gratuitous."

He said Templeton’s letter of apology showed genuine remorse and commended him for making the "brave choice" to leave the Mongrel Mob.

"If you had remained in that gang, we would see you [at court] again," the judge said.