Shayden Perkinson, the 25-year-old killed while protecting a woman at a Whangārei petrol station, was convicted of manslaughter in 2014.
Perkinson admitted to the charge of manslaughter at the Whangārei High Court in 2016, and was sentenced to three years and two months in prison.
Despite this, Perkinson’s last act was a heroic one, when he stepped up to protect a woman – his cousin Tiah Hart – on Saturday night.
She has described him as her “forever hero”.
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Hart said Perkinson lost his life “in a matter of minutes” when she was confronted at the ATM outside Raumanga’s Gull service station by two men with their faces covered.
“Words cannot describe the pain I feel for what has happened and it breaks my heart every day,” she said.
Perkinson spent time in prison for his involvement in the death of 56-year-old Michael Patrick Griffin, who died from a severe, blunt-force blow to his head.
Perkinson and 17-year-old Elias Pomare were both present during the attack, but it was found Pomare was the one who fatally injured Griffin, whereas Perkinson did not take part.
Pomare struck Griffin on the head a number of times, before spraying graffiti around his property, and stealing two pushbikes and a laptop.
“He [was] my very close cousin, we were brought up together since birth and we have never been apart when possible,” said Hart.
She said Perkinson intervened when a man approached her at the ATM outside the petrol station.
“He simply steps out of the car he was in and said, ‘Let her alone, bro.’”
That was when a second man approached her cousin from behind. The second man also had his face covered, she said.
“They then started fighting for a short period of time.”
It was then Perkinson was stabbed “multiple times”, she said.
A video of the attack, obtained by 1 News, shows two men striking another person on the ground, then that person being thrown to the side.
Another person in a car, who happened to be at the scene, tried to stop the stabbing by hitting one of the attackers with their car, sending them running.
On Wednesday afternoon, police said they were making “positive progress” into the homicide investigation.
“Our thoughts are with Mr Perkinson’s friends and whanau at this difficult time,” Northland district crime manager detective inspector Dene Begbie said.
Begbie said police were aware of speculation online regarding the circumstances of what may have occurred and who might be responsible.
“We continue to ask the public to be mindful of what is being shared so as to not jeopardise the police investigation,” Begbie said.
“At this stage, no arrests have been made.”
Police emphasised that anyone with information or videos of the incident should come forward.
Any relevant footage or images can be uploaded here.
If you were in the area of the Raumanga Gull service station at about 9.30pm on Saturday night, police ask for you to get in touch if you have not already done so.
Contact police via their 105 phone service or online, using Update My Report or alternatively, anonymously, via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
Haven Falls Poutama Tangihanga Funeral Home said Perkinson’s tangihanga would be on Thursday.