Four jailed for life after party stabbing
Those responsible for the roadside stabbing of a man after a dispute at a party will spend at least the next 13 years in prison.
John Li’a, 23, died in Mt Roskill on October 14, 2011, after suffering eight stab wounds from his head to his waist during a vicious attack.
In the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday Cecilia Uhrle, Unalotu Tongia, Esau Vailagilala and Faamanu Fesuluai were each sentenced to life imprisonment by Justice Mark Cooper.
The victim’s mother Aseka said in an emotional statement read to the court that her life had been ripped apart by her son’s death and she was no longer able to work because of the stress it had caused.
‘‘No sentence will be long enough,’’ she said.
The court heard that on the night of the murder Mr Li’a had stormed out of Uhrle’s birthday party after an argument.
He smashed glass on the door and the back windscreen of Uhrle’s car as he left with his younger sister Millie.
Uhrle chased the pair in her car before returning to the party to fetch the three co-offenders.
Vailagilala tackled Mr Li’a to the ground and a savage attack ensued which involved the three men using four weapons, the court was told.
The post mortem concluded he suffered eight wounds from four weapons.
Uhrle left the scene after being confronted by a nearby resident, as did the men some time later.
Police found Mr Li’a unconscious and lying in a pool of his own blood.
Dogs tracked the four accused to the house of the birthday party.
Police found Mr Li’a’s blood on all three of the accused men’s clothes and traces of blood in the bathroom at the house.
Tongia and Vailagilala, both aged 19 at the time, were given a minimum period of imprisonment of 131⁄ years. Fesuluai was jailed for 15 years. His partner Uhrle was jailed for 13 years.
According to judge Cooper she ‘‘must have been aware of the murderous intent’’ even though she did not participate in the beating.