Northland teen jailed for manslaughter of Good Samaritan who gave him a lift

Police at the scene where Okaihau man Michael John Biggins was found dead after being stabbed to death in an attempted carjacking in 2021. Photo / Peter de Graaf

A Northland teen who stabbed a man to death during an attempted carjacking has been jailed for five years and 10 months for manslaughter.

The now 16-year-old was 15 when he and a then 12-year-old boy embarked on a plan to steal a car from a couple in Okaihau who had previously given him a lift.

The boy appeared for sentencing in the High Court at Whangārei on Tuesday after earlier pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Michael John Biggins.

Biggins, 62, was discovered fatally injured in a car crash in a paddock on Imms Rd, south of Okaihau on September 27, 2021.


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In the court Justice Neil Campbell gave a starting point for sentencing of nine years imprisonment. After giving discounts for his guilty plea of 25 per cent and 20 per cent for his personal circumstances Justice Campbell gave an end sentence of five years and 10 months imprisonment. The judge did not impose a minimum period of imprisonment, meaning it would be up to the Parole Board to determine when he is released after serving at least a third of the sentence.

Justice Campbell also declined to grant the boy continued name suppression, but he cannot be named as the judge gave interim suppression until the matter is appealed to the Court of Appeal by his lawyer.

Members of Biggins’ family, including his wife, daughter and sister-in-law read emotional victim impact statements to the court, painting a picture of a generous, loving and much-loved father, grandfather, husband, uncle and friend, who would do anything for anybody.

They spoke of the devastation his killing has had on them, leading to anxiety, depression and a loss of a sense of safety. They hoped that the youth would get an appropriate sentence for the hurt he had caused and the loss Biggins’ death had created to the entire community.


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Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield KC said there was no real planning or premeditation to the boy’s actions and he did not fully realise, or even think about, the consequences his “silly plan” could lead to.

Mansfield said the boy did not intend to kill Biggins and the plan was for Mrs Biggins to give them a lift, as she had previously, and they would steal the car from her. He asked for a starting point for sentencing of six years to help the boy with his rehabilitation and reintegration to society once his sentence ended. He said Biggins was acting as a Good Samaritan and did not deserve his fate.

Justice Campbell said the youth, and another boy, had previously been given lifts by Mrs Biggins and about 7.25pm on September 27, 2021, the youth and another boy went to the Biggins’ home and asked her to give them a lift to Lake Rd.

Before setting off to the house the youth had selected a 12-inch long knife from his home and told the other youth he was going to use it in “the carjacking”. He intended to use it to frighten Mrs Biggins into handing over the “flash” car so they could visit friends in Kaitaia.

However, Mrs Biggins had had a glass of wine so asked her husband to give them a lift instead, which he agreed to do. During the ride it’s believed Biggins was threatened with the knife, but refused to hand over the car, leading the boy to stab him.

About 8.20pm, residents of Imms Rd heard a loud bang, which was Biggins’ car hitting a tree. He was pulled from the wreckage, which then caught fire.

Biggins had two distinct knife wounds, with one over 12cm long, going through his heart and lung and killing him. The knife used by the youth to stab Mr Biggins was found in the car and it had the youth’s DNA on it.

Justice Campbell said the youth’s actions have had a devastating effect on Biggins’ family, his friends and the wider community.

He said Biggins was a generous, easy going and gentle man and his family and friends shared those values. However, they have now been left fearful and anxious and no longer felt comfortable offering help to people, especially strangers. His family members no longer felt safe in their homes and his loss would impact them greatly.

The other boy involved in the case has denied murder and will appear for trial in October, next year. He has interim name suppression.


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