20 Dec 2012

Teen sentenced to 18 years for murder

9:08 pm on 20 December 2012

A teenager has been sentenced to 18 years jail for the murder of his step-grandfather's partner in North Taranaki.

Jordan Nelson, 13, was sentenced at the High Court in New Plymouth on Thursday.

Last month he pleaded guilty to shooting Rosemaree Kurth in the head in April.

The summary of facts said Ms Kurth was working on a puzzle at their home near Urenui when she was killed.

The teenager told police he got on well with his caregiver, Kerry Lock, with whom he had lived for most of his life and thought of as his grandfather.

But he said he did not get on well with Mr Lock's partner, whom he had known for three years.

Child, Youth and Family was involved in Nelson's caregiving arrangements and says it should have communicated better with Mr Lock and with Nelson's school.

Emotional accounts from the family of Ms Kurth were heard in the High Court.

One daughter said she is unable to sleep properly and happy memories of her mother doing jigsaws, which was her favourite hobby, are now painful.

Meanwhile, Nelson's lawyer Patrick Mooney told Checkpoint his client has been overwhelmed by the events.

Mr Mooney says he doesn't know if any 13-year-old could comprehend the severity of an 18-year prison sentence.

Justice Paul Heath said the boy's early exposure to domestic violence probably played a part in his being unable to say how distressed he was.

He said while deliberate, the killing was nevertheless an impulsive and irrational decision by a young boy just entering his teenage years.

Nelson will be eligible for parole in six years.