Prison sentences for Angela Blackmoore murder

Rebecca Wright-Meldrum and David Hawken were sentenced at the Christchurch High Court today....
Rebecca Wright-Meldrum and David Hawken were sentenced at the Christchurch High Court today. Photo: Pool / Iain McGregor / The Press
By Tim Brown

Angela Blackmoore's murderers stole a young mother's bright future and the life of her unborn baby, the High Court in Christchurch has heard.

David Hawken and Rebecca Wright-Meldrum today received life sentences for their roles in the almost 30-year-old slaying in Christchurch.

They were found guilty by a jury of murder last year. 

Hawken, 51, today received a non-parole period of 10 years, while Wright-Meldrum, 51, will also serve at least 10 years behind bars.

Blackmoore was bludgeoned and stabbed 39 times in her Wainoni home while her two-year-old son slept in a nearby room on August 17 in 1995.

The 21-year-old was pregnant with her second child at the time of the attack.

Angela Blackmoore died in  August 1995. Photo: NZ Police
Angela Blackmoore died in August 1995. Photo: NZ Police
Her friends and family waited almost 25 years for answers, until Jeremy Powell confessed to the killing in 2019.

The cold case breakthrough led to Powell's life imprisonment a year later and police laying charges against Hawken and Wright-Meldrum.

Powell was a key Crown witness in the four-week trial late last year.

Powell told the court Hawken ordered Blackmoore's murder and offered $10,000 to him and his then-girlfriend Wright-Meldrum to carry out the hit.

Blackmoore's partner at the time of her murder, Laurie Anderson, told the High Court today that Hawken and Wright-Meldrum had robbed Blackmoore of her future, robbed him of the love of his life and robbed Blackmoore's young son of his mother.

"I used to rub her tummy at night knowing we were making this beautiful baby," Anderson said.

"We were planning all the things we were going to do together as a family."

Hawken's evil plans had destroyed the life Blackmoore had worked to build after turning her life around, Anderson said.

"If it wasn't for you, Angela would have been happy and getting on with her new life. If I could I would let you rot in jail for the rest of your life ... you are sheer evil."

Their decision to keep their roles in Blackmoore's murder secret meant many of her loved ones, including her parents, had died without knowing the truth of her death, Anderson said.

"I will always miss Angela. She's the love that will never leave me."

Blackmoore's son, who was 2 years old at the time of her murder, said his mother's death and the circumstances which led to it, had robbed him of a normal life.

It was especially distressing knowing he had been robbed of the chance of being a brother to Blackmoore's unborn child.

"Vengence for my fallen brother is best served by a life-long hell," his victim impact statement said.

Blackmoore's cousin Jill Purvis asked Wright-Meldrum how she could betray the trust of a friend.

"What made you think you had the right to take part in the murder of a young mum?" Purvis said.

"How dare you betray a friend in such a cruel way. Angie's life was worth more than any amount of money."

Another cousin, Leanne Keen, said she had dedicated her life to bring those responsible for Blackmoore's murder to justice since she was a teenager.

"I'm disgusted by your lack of remorse and your attitudes while sitting in the dock, shaking your heads while evidence was being presented against you," she told the two murderers.

"You are stealers of life.

"Rot in hell the pair of you. The pain, anger and stress you have put us through has been hard to contend with. I really haven't got the words to describe it."

Anderson's niece, Stacey Brosnan, said the pair had "destroyed so many lives and you just don't care".

"Angela and baby may be gone, but she will never be forgotten," Brosnan said.

"You may have taken her away, but you will never take the memories away."

Jeremy Powell told the jury in Hawken and Wright-Meldrum's trial that Hawken threatened to kill his family if he did not murder Blackmoore, and boasted about his numerous gang connections.

Powell claimed he was reluctant to carry out the killing, but eventually succumbed to Hawken's threats.

Powell explained that he killed Blackmoore several days later and felt panicked before, during and after her murder.

"I remember hitting her two or three times with a bat, I remember the bat breaking," Powell said.

Powell said he hit her with a bat first because he wanted to knock her out "so that she wouldn't feel anything".

"I didn't want to hurt her."

Wright-Meldum, who was a friend of the Blackmoore's, was described by the prosecution as essential in securing access to the Wainoni property on the night of the murder.

Hawken never paid him after the killing, Powell said.

It took the jury two days of deliberations to decide on Hawken and Wright-Meldrum's guilt.

'Long and painful' process

Police today acknowledged the sentences, saying their focus since Angela Blackmore's death was to bring people to justice.

In a statement, Detective Sergeant Todd Hamilton said today was all about Angela and her family.

"It has been a long and painful nearly three decades since Angela was taken away from them, with most of those spent not knowing who was responsible. This has been a long process for all involved.

"Since Angela’s murder, our focus has been bringing the people responsible to justice. Over the years that focus did not change.

"Her family, including her parents who are no longer with us, have conducted themselves with dignity and perseverance across this long and difficult journey."

In May 2019, as part of a renewed push for information, police offered a reward for information in relation to the murder, resulting in three people ultimately being jailed.

Det Sgt Hamilton thanked police staff who have "worked tirelessly on this case over three decades to get answers for the family, especially the staff that have been working on this case since 2019, and the small team that have bought this matter to trial.

"Today’s sentencing doesn’t bring Angela back, and it certainly doesn’t cure the grief the family has endured, but we hope it will help them move forward."

- additional reporting ODT Online