Life sentence for Christchurch housing complex murder

Motu Smith during a previous court appearance. Photo: Pool
Motu Smith during a previous court appearance. Photo: Pool
The man who murdered a former Mongrel Mob gang member in a Christchurch housing complex has been sentenced to life in prison.

Motu Smith will not be eligible for parole for 14 years and six months after a High Court jury found him guilty earlier this year of murdering Daniel Hawkins in the bedroom of his Sydenham unit on April 24, 2021.

The New Zealand Herald reported Smith was sentenced by Justice Jonathan Eaton this morning.

His sentences for the offending - ranging from three to four years - will be served concurrently, The Herald reported.

At Smith's trial in February, the court heard how he inflicted severe head injuries then cut Hawkins' throat and stabbed his neck.

He then took off in the victim’s car, leaving him to die on his bed in a pool of his own blood.

The Crown said Smith’s actions were part of a "spree" of offending during which Smith violently attacked two other men - also fleeing in their vehicles.

Kenneth Daniel Hawkins. Photo: Supplied
Kenneth Daniel Hawkins. Photo: Supplied
But Smith says he was acting in "self-defence" when he injured Hawkins.

Hawkins was a former member of the Mongrel Mob gang and was facing active charges when he died.

Following Smith's sentencing on Wednesday, Detective Inspector Nicola Reeves thanked members of the community who provided valuable information and support throughout the investigation and trial.

"I would also like to thank all the investigation team for their professionalism and tireless work on this case to bring this matter to a successful conclusion," Reeves said.

"I would like to acknowledge the aroha and strength shown by Danny's (Hawkins) whanau and loved ones over the last three years.

"I hope today’s outcome brings some measure of peace for them, knowing that the person responsible has been held to account."