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Murder victim left unrecognisable

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/10/2016

The mother of a south Auckland man beaten to death by his friend says his murderer left her son's face so mangled she was unable to identify his body.

Tione Tione, 39, has been sentenced to a minimum jail term of 13 years and six months for the killing of Troy Wright in Takanini last year.

Mr Wright, 43, died from a severe beating that left him bleeding on the floor of his one-bedroom home last September.

At the sentencing at the High Court at Auckland on Thursday, prosecutor Yelena Yelavich said the 59 injuries to Mr Wright showed a "high level of brutality".

She said the attack was unprovoked and one-sided, with Mr Wright's head subject to repeated hitting and stomping.

During the trial in August, prosecutors said Tione attacked Mr Wright after showing up at his house drunk at 5am, and then tried to clean up the scene, only calling an ambulance hours later.

Holding back tears as her statement was read to the court, Mr Wright's mother, Mary, said she couldn't identify her son's body because his face was so badly beaten

She described trying to wipe away the blood pouring out of his swollen eyes.

"Each time I did this the more would flow," Ms Wright said, adding a closed-casket funeral had to be held.

Justice Rebecca Edwards said the injuries to Mr Wright's brain showed he had been attacked with "severe force" and Tione's reaction afterwards showed "callousness", she said.

"Your primary concern was for yourself."

Defence lawyer Shane Cassidy said Tione suffered from bipolar and schizophrenia affective disorders and had been hearing voices on the day of the attack - the idea Mr Wright would die never crossing his mind.

"He was unwell and I was unwell. He was a really good guy. I didn't mean to do any harm," he quoted Tione telling police at the trial.

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