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Court hears of a life of tragedy

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    Court hears of a life of tragedy - 15-Sep-2008
    Lesser sentence pleas for an 'anti-social delinquent'.
    He didn't know his father, his stepfather abused him, and his mother did time in prison.

    Those were the "tragic" early years of Andre Gilling's life that were laid bare in the High Court at Palmerston North yesterday.

    It was an outrage, the 19-year- old's lawyer said, that from the age of 10 Gilling spent seven years in eight different foster homes.

    The teen was a product of parental neglect and abuse, Mike Antunovic said. He was pleading for Gilling to be sent to prison for something less than the 15-year minimum that was meted out to Ashley Arnopp last year for murdering Stanley Waipouri.

    Gilling was appearing for sentence before Justice Arnold after a jury in July found him guilty of the slaying of Mr Waipouri on December 22, 2006.

    Mr Waipouri, a 39-year-old homosexual, was found dead in his upstairs flat in Palmerston North's Rangitikei Street after what the judge called "an explosion of extreme violence", which included mutilation of his body as he lay dead in the blood-splattered room.

    Arnopp admitted the killing but Gilling denied it before being found guilty after two trials.

    Mr Antunovic said Gilling denied the crime because his "extreme intoxication" meant he couldn't remember anything about the night Mr Waipouri died.

    He said a sentence "slightly less" than the minimum imposed on the 22-year-old Arnopp was justified for Gilling.

    However, Crown lawyer Paul Murray called for a minimum 17-year jail term for Gilling, saying the attack on Mr Waipouri was "frenzied, motiveless and inexplicable".

    He described Gilling as an "anti- social delinquent" who lacked remorse for what he did.

    Justice Arnold said it was unclear to this day why the attack on Mr Waipouri occurred. But what happened amounted to a "prolonged, savage and senseless beating of a defenceless man in his own home".

    The judge said Gilling would be jailed for less than the 17 years the Crown wanted because of his age, tragic personal circumstances and the "reasonable possibility" that he didn't instigate the attack on Mr Waipouri.

    But he shouldn't receive less than the 15 years Arnopp got, he said.
    Ref: - Manawatu Standard

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