27 Oct 2016

Gang leader's murder sparked by lost puppy, court told

9:20 pm on 27 October 2016

The murder of a Whanganui gang leader was sparked by the return of a lost puppy, a court has been told.

(from left) Mathew Thomas Madams, Kevin Roy Madams, and Tyrone Peter Madams, on trial for the murder of Craig Rippon.

From left: Mathew Thomas Madams, Kevin Roy Madams and Tyrone Peter Madams, who are on trial for the murder of Craig Rippon. Photo: Murray Wilson/Fairfax NZ

The trial in the High Court at Whanganui was adjourned yesterday, when not enough people turned up for jury service to empanel a jury.

The victim, Craig Rippon, was a founding member of Whanganui Black Power, but in more recent times had become known for his community work.

Five people have been charged with his murder - Matthew Thomas Madams, 37, Kevin Roy Madams, 42, Tyrone Peter Madams, 57, and two youths who have name suppression.

They have all pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Rippon and participating in an organised criminal group.

Murder victim Craig Rippon

Craig Rippon Photo: Supplied

Another accused - Tyrone William Madams, 39 - has already been sentenced over the same incident.

He pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years.

Addressing the court, Crown counsel Harry Mallallieu said the incident stemmed from an argument over a puppy.

Mr Mallallieu said Mr Rippon died from blunt force trauma to the head, in an assault carried out by a group associated with Tyrone William Madams.

He said everyone involved was associated with Black Power, but the case was not connected with the gang as such.

The case was connected with the return of a lost puppy, which Mr Rippon had helped retrieve from the Madams household, Mr Mallallieu said.

But he said Tyrone Peter Madams got angry about the puppy, and mistakenly thought reward money had been paid to Mr Rippon.

The Crown said Tyrone Peter Madams and the other four defendants went to Mr Rippon's Rimu St house, where there was a confrontation that ended in Tyrone Peter Madams being injured.

The five then got weapons and were joined by Tyrone William Madams before returning to Mr Rippon's house, where a violent confrontation ensued.

Mr Mallallieu said some of Mr Rippon's children watched as he was beaten.