Sean Dennis Brown
After four years of waiting for justice for the "callous" murder of her son, Molly Skudder can finally begin to grieve.
Her son's killer, Sean Dennis Brown, was today sentenced to a minimum 13 years imprisonment for the 2007 murder of Harold Alamoti Taipa Skudder.
Skudder, 36, died when Brown deliberately dropped a heavy ornamental cat statue on his head three times while he slept.
Brown then dumped the body in a gully in Upper Hut, where it lay until March, 2010, when Brown revealed its hiding place.
"It's just a shock that it's all over," Mrs Skudder said, after the sentence was delivered at the High Court in Wellington today.
"Thirteen years. We're happy with that. We're just happy it's all over,"she said.
Skudder's older brother, Ben Skudder Jnr, said the family had struggled to move on with the court case "hanging over them".
"Now we can get on with life, try to be normal," he said.
Skudder said the family were supporting his brother's children "as much as we can for kids without a dad".
During sentencing, a letter from Brown to the family was read out by his lawyer.
"I wish I could turn the clock back so I could have solved this in a different manner," it said.
"I will have to live day in and day out with the guilt that somewhere out there, there are some kids who never got the chance to know their father."
Skudder's family did not want to comment on the letter, however, they said they would like to see Brown get some help.
"We need to concentrate on our loss now," Skudder said.
Harold Skudder had been staying at the Brown's family home in Stokes Valley and was killed as he lay sleeping on the lounge floor, the day of Brown's 23rd birthday.
An ornamental cat statue weighing more than 15kg was dropped on his head three times.
The statue has never been found. Its duplicate was used as a display in the court case.
Sean Brown had been working as a painter at the time and lived with his mother and younger brother.
Justice Young said it was difficult to be clear about the motivation for the killing, which he said involved a "high level of callousness and brutality" both before and after Skudder died.
Although Skudder had involved Brown's mother in criminal offending his other poor conduct in their home was irritating more than anything.
But it was not a happy arrangement for Brown and he resented the way Skudder treated them.
The judge accepted Brown would have been sensitive to the slights of Skudder's behaviour and protective of his mother and brother.
He may have been especially aggrieved that night since it was his birthday.
Skudder had four young children and an older child by an earlier relationship.
At the time of his death he was separated from this partner.
- The Dominion Post
Date of Birth
1984 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Sentenced to life with a thirteen year minimum term in May 2011
Eligible for parole March 2023
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Cat statue killer jailed
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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