16 Aug 2016

Five years jail for killing teen with broken bottle

2:52 pm on 16 August 2016

Vincent Skeen has been jailed for five years and two months for the manslaughter of a 17-year-old rising rugby league star.

Vincent Angene Skeen, 18, is on trial at the High Court in Auckland and has denied murdering 16-year-old Luke Tipene in a street fight in Grey Lynn on Halloween, 2014.

Vincent Skeen was found guilty of Luke Tipene's manslaughter. Photo: Screenshot / TVNZ

Skeen was last month convicted of manslaughter for killing Luke Tipene by stabbing him with a broken beer bottle during a Grey Lynn street fight in 2014.

In sentencing at the High Court in Auckland this morning, Justice Mary Peters said Mr Tipene had been robbed of his life at 17 and his death has also robbed his mother, Terry Wilson, of her only son.

Luke Tipene

Luke Tipene was killed in 2014. Photo: FACEBOOK

Justice Peters said she was satisfied Skeen swung at Mr Tipene several times but had aimed for his chest not his jugular.

The Crown had argued Skeen literally went for the jugular when he stabbed Mr Tipene at least seven times, while Skeen's lawyers said their client had acted in self defence and had no intention to kill him.

In a victim impact statement delivered by Crown lawers, Terry Wilson described her pain at the loss of her son as paralysing. She said the moment she heard her son had been killed, she had "lost her soul".

"From that moment on, I became the shell of the person I once was. The pain of my loss was so intense, some days I just could not move. It totally paralysed my senses."

Outside the court after the sentencing, Mr Tipene's uncle Sean Wilson said the 17-year-old would be remembered for his mana and the amazing impression he left on people.

Mr Wilson said the family is disappointed with the five year sentence.

"We have to respect the result today - unfortunately it wasn't the result we intended. We have to focus on the positives and that is keeping Luke's memory alive."

Luke Tipene's uncle Sean Wilson outside the High Court in Auckland following the sentencing of Vincent Skeen.

Luke Tipene's uncle Sean Wilson speaks outside court. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

Mr Wilson said going through the tragedy and reliving it through the court process had taken its toll on the family.

"Luke is not not here so we are here to represent him, we as a family are all here supporting each other.

Mr Wilson said the family held a Luke celebration day every year, supported by New Zealand Rugby League and the Warriors.

"We want to give back in Luke's memory to those who are less fortunate. It's a day to remember him and the positive things he stood for. Luke made an amazing impression on people and he had a lot of mana for the things he stood for."

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