A judge says the man who killed Auckland woman Joanne Wang in a hit-and-run bag-snatching lived in a depressing culture of idleness that was a breeding ground for crime.
At the High Court in Auckland on Friday, Christopher Shadrock, 23, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years for Mrs Wang's murder in a carpark in June 2008.
Shadrock hit her with his car as she chased him after he snatched her bag in the Manukau Mall carpark.
His five co-accused, who were accessories to the murder, were connected to the Killer Beez gang.
Sentencing Shadrock, Justice Rodney Hansen said they were a gang of thieves who preyed on innocent people. In between doing that, they loafed around playing PlayStation and drinking.
The judge urged the group to use prison to turn their lives around.
Killer said to be extremely remorseful
Shadrock's lawyer, Michele Wilkinson Smith, told the court that he was extremely remorseful and that, since become a father himself, felt particularly sorry for Mrs Wang's son Edmund.
But Justice Hansen told Shadrock he could never do anything to ease the pain of Mrs Wang's husband and parents - and her son, who will grow up without a mother.
Earlier, Crown prosecutor Christine Gordon read out victim impact statements from Mrs Wang's husband and parents.
Her husband says that their son, now 10, has never smiled since seeing his mother murdered, and that he worries how it will affect him later in life.
The two were always together, the husband's statement says, and were having an ordinary after-school conversation when the killer hit.
Area considered safer now
One of the organisers of a South Auckland anti-violence rally sparked by the killing of Mrs Wang and two others within two weeks of each other says that the area is becoming safer but that there's still a lot of work to do.
Daljit Singh, who helped organise the rally, says that more police patrols have been on the streets since then and that there are more liaison officers.
But police need to step up their work even further, he says, and the community needs to look at how to prevent crime.
The head of the Counties Manukau Criminal Investigation Branch, Inspector John Tims, says the 240 extra police assigned to the district since 2008 are helping to reduce crime and the homicide rate is down.
The new officers have boosted a dedicated team to deal with disorder, he says, and have allowed the creation of a major crimes team.