16 Nov 2016

Men found guilty of gang leader's death

7:41 pm on 16 November 2016

A jury has found two more men guilty of killing Whanganui gang leader Craig Rippon.

Kevin Roy Madams, left, and Tyrone Peter Madams, on trial for the murder of Craig Rippon.

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

Mr Rippon was a founding member of Whanganui Black Power, but had more recently become known for his community work.

He was bludgeoned to death in November last year following a dispute with gang associates over a puppy.

In the High Court in Whanganui today, Kevin Roy Madams, 42, was found guilty of murder and Tyrone Peter Madams, 57, was found guilty of manslaughter.

They were also found guilty of being members of a criminal organisation.

It took the jury of four men and eight women about six hours to reach the verdicts.

Murder victim Craig Rippon

Craig Rippon Photo: Supplied

Kevin Roy Madams and Tyrone Peter Madams were part of a group of five men associated with Black Power who had been on trial charged with Mr Rippon's murder.

Earlier in the three-week trial, co-accused Mathew Thomas Madams, 37, and a youth, who has name suppression, accepted a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Another youth had the case against him dismissed.

And, in June, Tyrone William Madams, 39, pleaded guilty to Mr Rippon's murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years.

Rippon killed in argument over puppy - Crown

The killing centred around the return of a missing puppy, which Mr Rippon had retrieved from the Madams' home.

The Crown said Tyrone Peter Madams got angry about the puppy being taken, and mistakenly thought reward money had been paid to Mr Rippon by the dog's owner to get it back.

Tyrone Peter Madams and the other four defendants went to Mr Rippon's Rimu Street 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.

Witnesses said Mr Rippon was beaten with an iron bar and a spade in front of family members. He later died of blunt force trauma

About a dozen family members and supporters were in court today for the verdicts and remained calm during the brief proceedings.

They declined to talk to the media, as did the police.

In her summary yesterday, Justice Mallon said the case against the two men who heard the verdicts against them today hung on whether they knew Mr Rippon's death was a probable outcome of the plot to return to Rimu Street and confront him.

She said the Crown's case was that they took part in an act of premeditated "gang warfare".

Their defence counsel argued they did not plan to kill Mr Rippon and were not there when the fatal blows were landed.

They argued Tyrone Peter Madams was too drunk and disorientated from the earlier assault to have knowingly been involved in a plan to kill Mr Rippon.

Kevin Roy Madams' counsel said he had withdrawn from the plot and there was no reliable evidence he had entered Mr Rippon's property.

Today, Justice Mallon issued first-strike warnings to Tyrone Peter Madams and Kevin Roy Madams and remanded them for sentencing in February next year.

Mathew Thomas Madams and the youth who accepted a manslaughter charge will also be sentenced in the new year.