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Woman avoids jail over shooting death

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/06/2016
The defendant Daryl Kirk © Fairfax The defendant Daryl Kirk

A Lower Hutt woman who fatally shot her mother's partner after he went on a drug-fuelled frenzy with a meat cleaver has avoided a jail term.

Adam Watkins, 39, was killed after he had threatened Daryl Kirk, her mother and others with the weapon at their Taita home in February last year.

A jury found 20-year-old Kirk not guilty of his murder but guilty of manslaughter after a trial in April.

She claimed she acted in self-defence when shooting Mr Watkins three times with a semi-automatic rifle. In the High Court at Wellington on Friday she was sentenced to 12 months' home detention.

At the trial the court heard the saga began when Mr Watkins began threatening and swinging a meat cleaver at guests at the house following a heated argument with his partner Kelly Kirk.

He had a cocktail of drugs - including methamphetamine, methadone, amphetamine - in his system at the time. Kirk told police Mr Watkins trapped her in the bedroom, swinging the meat cleaver near her face.

She grabbed the rifle to scare him but he wasn't deterred so she fired six shots.

Three bullets hit him, including one which ricocheted into his back. He died in the driveway shortly after. Kelly Kirk last year admitted perverting the course of justice by interfering with evidence at a murder scene.

She was originally sentenced to eight months' home detention and 160 hours of community work but that substituted with seven months' jail after she failed to comply with the original sentence.

Daryl Kirk's partner, Kyle Barnden, was sentenced to serve 10 months' home detention for attempting to pervert the course of justice and unlawfully having a rifle.

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