Dean Cole was suffering under a "reign of terror" so severe he slept with his door bolted and carried a knife to protect himself from his son.
A mixture of mental health, consistent abuse and death threats caused him to snap on October 12 last year, killing his son Blair Cole with a single shot to the chest.
He pleaded guilty to murder in February but the circumstances of the crime prompted a judge to make the uncommon decision on Tuesday not to impose a life sentence, as it would be "manifestly unjust".
In the High Court at Gisborne, Justice Helen Cull instead sentenced Dean Cole to 12 years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of six years.
He was just the eighth person to receive less than a life sentence for murder.
According to the summary of facts, Dean Cole raised concerns with his son in 2015 about them living in the same house together in the rural Hawke's Bay settlement of Mohaka.
Blair Cole had been violent towards family members for a number of years. He had assaulted his brother, sister and mother on separate occasions.
He also used methamphetamine and had mental health problems.
Dean Cole's lawyer Susan Hughes QC argued that during their time living together, constant death threats and abuse by Blair Cole led his father to be a "battered defendant".
Dean Cole was so scared for his life, he slept with his door bolted and would often carry a knife with him, she said.
The night prior to the murder, Dean Cole stayed awake "all night" and considered ways to finally "put a stop" to his son's aggressive behaviour.
"He considered using a knife to stab the victim in each of his legs to permanently disable him," the summary of facts said. "He then decided that he would shoot the victim to render him immobile and 'wheelchair' him."
A large point of contention between the pair was the fact Blair Cole believed he had not received his fair share of inheritance from his grandmother's estate.
On the morning of the shooting, Dean Cole went to the bank to get statements that would show his son he had been gifted a reasonable share.
He gave the statements to Blair Cole, went to the shed, retrieved his gun, returned to the house and shot his son while he sat on a bed.
Crown prosecutor Steve Manning agreed Dean Cole had been abused, but said it did not justify the shooting.
He argued that the level of premeditation showed provocation could not be considered as a factor.
In her summing up, Justice Cull quoted Dean Cole's 111 phone call when he described living with his son as being under "a reign of terror".
She took two years off his sentence for an early guilty plea and demonstration of remorse.
Cole yelled out as he was taken out of the courtroom: "I'll do every day for my son, your honour."
Rebekah Charlton, manager of Caring for Carers Hawke's Bay, said the tragedy highlighted the dangers of someone looking after an unwell relative becoming isolated from support services.
"In the the middle of nowhere, probably with not a very good internet connection, probably without the funds to go to a support group, you can see how it gets difficult for people."
Date of Birth
1954 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Dean Cole Sentencing Notes
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