Leighton Brian Wilding
NZ Herald story here and details of his earlier offending here
From the Christchurch Press 11th June 2005
Midnight, or close to it. A car crunches over gravel to the Buller River, near Westport. The stereo is thumping. So is the heart of James "Janis" Bamborough. Adrenalin surges through his booze-soaked stupor as he is wrenched from the back seat of the Nissan Maxima and into the freezing water. Hands close on his throat and plunge him into the torpid flow. The struggle is short, feeble. His eyes roll back, arms slump, and the last flicker from this harmless, helpless soul drifts into the darkness.
Nearly six years on, an arduous murder hunt that relied on witnesses standing up to one of the country's most fearsome gangs has finally nailed the two skinheads responsible. Hayden McKenzie, 28, is a white supremacist who infamously had Die Nigger Die tattooed on his forehead. Leighton Wilding, 38, is a founding member of the ultra-violent Fourth Reich, a neo-Nazi group said to despise not only non-whites, but also homosexuals. Both have begun life sentences for the murder after a gripping High Court trial in Greymouth, during which McKenzie and Wilding turned on each other like caged rats.
For years they had remained staunch, impervious to police pressure. The body was hidden, and Wilding's Nissan was torched. Crucial witnesses lied or were frozen silent by fear. If not a cold case, it was certainly a cool one. How detectives ultimately pinned the killers of an eccentric West Coast hermaphrodite goes some way towards restoring the reputation of a police force tarnished by sex and 111 emergency scandals. It also offers another bloodstained window into the menacing Fourth Reich world of brutality, intimidation and revenge.
The Nazi-inspired gang was formed in Paparua Prison, near Christchurch, in 1994. One source said it grew not out of racial hatred, but the need to prevent "white guys being monstered" by other factions. Wilding was one of about six founders and, as master-at-arms, was in charge of weapons. He was a sporting prodigy who had represented Nelson in hockey, soccer, cricket, soft-ball, rugby league and swimming.
He was just 14 when he was first busted by police, for petty burglary. By 26 he was a convicted bank robber, languishing in prison with other skinheads and plotting mayhem for the Fourth Reich. Their brand of white power peaked in the mid to late-90s, in the upper South Island, with up to two dozen members and henchmen. In a 1997 show of strength a gang dropout accused of betrayal was tortured with a knife. He was cut ear to ear across his bald scalp and peeled like a boiled egg before having his finger hacked off. The trophy finger was taken away in a bread bag.
Former Fourth Reich president Ivan Gugich, who carried out the attack with an associate, was jailed for eight years. Inquiry head Detective Derek Shaw described Fourth Reichers as the most ruthless criminals he has encountered. "They were driven. They were determined. Nothing seemed to worry them. If someone got arrested or ended up in custody, that was simply regarded as collateral damage. Of everyone I've dealt with over the years, these guys gave me serious concern about my off-duty safety and that of my family."
In 1997, Nelson CIB head Wayne McCoy investigated a shocking forerunner to the Bamborough murder. Westport man Hemi Hutley, 23, a scrappy rugby halfback, was beaten unconscious in a pub fight by Fourth Reichers Neihana Foster and Aaron Howie. They dragged Hutley 125m over wasteland, stripped him, and threw him in the Buller River, where he drowned. Half-Maori Foster confirmed to police he was committed to the white power cause. "He said his heart was white because his father was a white person," McCoy told the Bamborough jury.
Date of Birth
Murdered West Coast man James John (Janis) Bamborough in 1999
Armed robbery of an Island Bay, Wellington supermarket in October 2000
Fourth Reich/ skinheads
Sentenced to seven years six months in late 2000
Sentenced to life (ten years non-parole) in June 2005
Due to be considered for release June 2015
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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