11 Mar 2010

Jail terms for killing of taxi driver

5:26 am on 11 March 2010

Two Christchurch men have been jailed for the killing of an Afghani taxi driver who moved his family to New Zealand for a safer life.

Abdulrahman Ikhtiari was fatally stabbed by one of his passengers while the other pinned him to the driver's seat of his taxi in December 2008.

Shannon Boyes-Warren was just 16 when he stabbed Abdulrahman Ikhtiari to death, after he and his then 19-year-old friend Randell Brown took a taxi ride from central Christchurch.

Initially the men blamed each other for the killing, but late last month Boyes-Warren admitted he was the one who plunged the knife with its 13-centimetre-long blade into Mr Ikhtiari's chest.

At the High Court in Christchurch on Wednesday, Boyes-Warren was given a life sentence for murder and will not be eligible for parole for 15 and a half years.

Brown was jailed for 3 years and 8 months for manslaughter.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Ikhtiari's wife and children said their loss was immense and they were suffering unimaginable sorrow and pain.

Justice French said it was an attack by two strong young men on an older person.

She said the men's actions were cowardly and senseless.

However, she was impressed by a letter written by Boyes-Warren to the court in which he expressed his remorse at killing Mr Ikhtiari, and she told him she felt there was still hope for him.

Nevertheless, it was essential to deliver a sentence that would keep the public safe from Boyes-Warren.

She said taxi drivers alone at night are vulnerable, and told the men their actions were callous.