The boy was sentenced at the High Court in Whangārei on Tuesday. (File photo)
A teenager has been jailed for his part in the fatal car-jacking of a 62-year-old Northland man who had offered him a ride in his car.
The 16 year-old, who has interim name suppression, appeared at the High Court in Whangārei on Tuesday where he was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 62-year-old Michael John Biggins.
Biggins’ body was found in his crashed car at Ōkaihau, north of Kaikohe.
His car had hit a tree, but police immediately had suspicions.
The court heard how the teenager, with a younger friend, had hatched a plan to steal a vehicle off Biggins’ wife Carolyn, who had previously offered them rides.
The 16-year-old took a knife and planned to use it to threaten Carolyn Biggins into handing over her car as she took them for a ride.
However, she declined to drive as she had drunk a glass of wine and instead asked her husband – whom the teenager had not met before.
During the drive, Michael Biggins was threatened with the knife but refused to handover the car.
He suffered a fatal stab wound through the chest and heart, as well as a stab wound to the right forearm.
Michael Biggins was found unresponsive in his car, which had crashed into a tree, with his foot lodged on the accelerator.
A knife was found nearby with the teenager’s DNA on it.
In her victim impact statement, Carolyn Biggins described her husband as her best friend and said her time with him was full of happiness and laughter.
“The way Michael was taken haunts me – it was a senseless act,” she told the court.
Other family members described Michael Biggins as generous and helpful, and said his death had a profound impact on the family, including his young grandchildren.
Justice Neil Campbell said the killing not only caused the loss of a beloved family member, it also robbed friends and family of their sense of safety.
“His friends and family used to share his generosity in spirit. They are now, because of what you did, less inclined to offer support to others, particularly strangers.
“That is a loss to the whole community,” he told the young offender.
The 16-year-old’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield KC, agreed the Biggins’ could both be described as “good samaritans.”
“It’s fair to say that the status of being prepared to help others was exploited.”
However, Mansfield said his client did not understand the consequences of his actions and did not expect someone to get hurt in the car-jacking, let alone fatally hurt.
The 16-year-old was sentenced to five years, 10 months in prison, with no minimum non-parol period.
Justice Campbell also declined name suppression to continue for the teenager, but made an order for temporary name suppression to continue pending an appeal.
Another boy, who was 12 at the time of Michael Biggins’ death, has denied his murder and will face trial in October 2024.