Atiamuri murderer sentenced
The only consolation that whanau of murdered woman Nina Thompson have is that Jamie Te Hiko will never hurt her again.
In March, it took a jury 45 minutes to find Te Hiko, 44, guilty of murdering Queenie Selena Thompson, also known as Nina and Queenie Karaka, at their home in Atiamuri in April 2016.
She had been assaulted with a metal pole and struck at least 70 times by Te Hiko, who then left her to die on the bed while he slept.
Te Hiko received his life sentence at Rotorua High Court on June 9, but not before her family got a chance to address her killer directly.
Statements were read out by her mother, Teena Thompson, daughter Tara-lise Karaka, and cousin Charlie Te Pana. Te Hiko sat, flanked by two court officers.
‘‘I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who grew from infant to teenager to a mum,’’ her mother said.
‘‘The highlight of her life was becoming a nan. She adored her moko.
‘‘After 42 years and 10 months, you stole her life. We’re not supposed to outlive our children. It’s unnatural. I still hear her voice in my sleep.’’
Teena said Nina always saw the good in people and always wanted to help others back on to their feet.
‘‘You would have been the perfect project for her,’’ she said.
‘‘The only consolation we have is that you will never hurt her again.
‘‘You have not just taken Nina’s life, you have devastated our family.’’
Her daughter Tara-lise said it felt like a light had been turned off in her world.
By entering a not-guilty plea, Te Hiko was not eligible for discounts to his sentence and received a minimum nonparole period of 17 years imprisonment.
While he admitted hitting her, he claimed he never meant to kill her. Justice Murray Gilbert disagreed with Te Hiko’s account of the events and said his testimony was simply a means of mitigating his own culpability.
‘‘Part of that has been to blame others and the other way was to overstate the amount he was affected by drugs and alcohol,’’ he said.
‘‘It is clear you completely lost control and beat her to death in an extremely violent, frenzied attack.’’
Keinan Ngapo with his multiple Golden Valley Country Music Award trophies.
Jamie Te Hiko.