1491954562244 - Michael Waipouri sentenced to 19 years for murder of Lance John Murphy

Michael Waipouri sentenced to 19 years for murder of Lance John Murphy

A man who kidnapped and murdered his longtime friend has been sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Michael Joseph Waipouri, 52, beat Lance John Murphy to death in November 2015 by hitting him over the head with a baseball bat and branch.

He was found guilty of Murphy’s murder in March.

Waipouri was sentenced in the High Court at Auckland on Wednesday by Justice Anne Hinton.

READ MORE:  * Michael Waipouri found guilty of murder * ‘I killed him. I had no choice’ * Police pour cold water on claims alleged murder victim was a hitman * Deceased was ‘going off the rails’ court hears * Man accused of murdering Lance John Murphy goes on trial * Judge rules murder accused’s self defence claim can’t be considered

Shortly into the hearing, Waipouri was removed from the court after he began lashing out at Murphy’s family. 

Before he was removed, Murphy’s 76 year-old mother, Mary, faced Waipouri while her victim impact statement was read.

She also placed a photo of her son to face Waipouri.

When she went to sit down she called Waipouri a “cowardly a……”. 

Waipouri then began to swear and yell at the public gallery, where Murphy’s family sat. Hinton ordered Waipouri be removed, and the court cleared. 

Hinton allowed Waipouri’s lawyer Dave Niven to speak to him before allowing him back into the court. 

Murphy’s family were also spoken to by Crown lawyer Gareth Kayes. 

When court resumed, Murphy’s younger sister Coralie Murphy spoke of how the murder had impacted her family.

“As for your family, I know they have a dad in jail, but they can visit you and hug you and tell you about their life,” she said. 

“What have we got to visit? A hole in the ground . . . some friend you turned out to be.” 

The Crown had argued Waipouri be sentenced to 21 years in prison, while the defence pushed for 17 years. 

Justice Hinton said in her summing up that Murphy’s action showed a high level of brutality and callousness.

“You began by using a bat, but then used a tree branch to deliver the killing blows, caving in Murphy’s skull,” she said. 

“You displayed no compassion for your friend at all.”

Waipouri received a minimum non-parole period of 19 years and will also serve a concurrent sentence of eight years for Murphy’s kidnapping. 

HOW IT HAPPENED: 

Murphy, 56, and Waipouri were long-time friends who lived around the corner from one another in the south Auckland settlement of Waiuku. 

Waipouri was the godfather of two of Murphy’s children. 

In the days leading up to his death Murphy told his three children he was scared for his life, following a fight with Waipouri. 

His daughter dismissed his concerns but the next weekend he disappeared, after travelling to associate Steven Gunbie’s Warkworth property with Waipouri. 

Waipouri gave evidence at his trail that he deliberately lied to Murphy about doing a drug run to lure him up north. 

In the early hours of the next morning Waipouri shackled Murphy, put a bag over his head, and he and Gunbie took him to a remote property in Puhoi. 

The property belonged to Gunbie’s associate, who received permanent name suppression and immunity from prosecution in return for giving evidence against Gunbie and Waipouri. 

Waipouri admitted to police, and jurors, that at the Puhoi property he struck his friend of 30 years about the head with a baseball bat before finishing the attack with a branch. 

During his trial, Justice Hinton ordered the jury not to consider his claim of self-defence in their deliberations.

Steven Gunbie was found not guilty on charges of being an accessory to murder, and kidnapping.