Apprentice carpenter Jonty Douglas was starting to build a solid future for himself when, according to his sister, he was killed by stranger Joshua Timoti who was high on booze and low on self-esteem.
Jonty had never met Timoti. Yet in a moment of mayhem in a south Auckland driveway in August 2022, their paths crossed and their lives became inextricably entwined forever.
Had Jonty and his workmate arrived earlier - or later - to shift a couch into the flat, they wouldn’t have seen Timoti, who had been drinking for hours and had repeatedly told his wife and her brother-in-law he wanted to stab someone, after being teased at a nearby Ōtāhuhu address.
Jonty’s older sister Patreece Douglas, said her brother - the youngest of four siblings - was a gentle giant who had a beaming smile and his entire life ahead of him.
But instead, he died alone in a mate’s driveway after Timoti stabbed the 26-year-old 12 times - eight to the body and four times to his head.
Patreece said Timoti’s sentencing on Friday - he had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter - bought back the painful memories of Jonty’s untimely and tragic death.
“The first stab wound went into the back of Jonty’s head, and from there Jonty had no chance to live,” Patreece told the Herald, after Timoti was sentenced to five-and-a-half years at the Auckland High Court.
Jonty Douglas, 26, died at a South Auckland property in August 2022. Photo / Supplied
Joshua Timoti was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Jonty Douglas in 2022. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Justice Peter Andrew said Timoti would serve at least 40 per cent of his sentence before he will be eligible to apply for parole - meaning he could possibly be out as early as next year.
Patreece said her whānau feel the justice system has let them down again.
Patrice, who has whakapapa to Ngāti Kahu Mangamuka and Maketu, as well as Ngāti Pākehā from her dad’s side, delivered an emotional victim impact report to Timoti at a restorative justice hui.
“Joshua, you never gave him a chance to heal and get better. Joshua, I came here today to see your face to finally put a face to the name of the person who brutally took my baby brother’s life before it was his time,” Patreece told Timoti.
“I don’t mean to upset you but there’s no restorative justice for Jonty, just injustice. They need to get it right.
“You stabbed him multiple times. You gave him no chance.
“I don’t know or care how your actions on that night have affected you, or even if it has affected you emotionally, physically or even mentally.
“What I do know is how your actions your actions have affected my whole family and myself, emotionally, physically and mentally. We are broken.”
Patreece Douglas' victim impact report she read in court on Friday.
Patreece said when she delivered her victim impact statement at the restorative justice hui, she looked straight into Timoti’s eyes.
“I read him my victim impact report to him and he apologised and said that’s not the sort of person he was, but he didn’t shed any tears. He looked more sorry for himself and when I looked him in the eyes, there was no remorse,” Patreece said.
“The vibe I got was he was sorry that he was in jail. He said he had been off the meth for two years and I said because you are in prison.
“He said to his lawyer that he was saying to Jonty ‘Where are the kids, where are the kids?’ But I said to him you are 36, Jonty was 26. You are the kid killer.”
Patreece said the judge reducing Timoti’s sentence because of his upbringing, which was contained in a cultural report, was tough to stomach.
“I was frustrated when the judge started taking time off Joshua’s sentence for cultural factors, like he didn’t have a dad and was brought up by his grandparents and was from an average Pacific Island family and things like that,” Patreece said.
“There are many Māori and Pasifika brought up the same way and they don’t blame their backgrounds for what happens in their lives.
“It was all about Joshua but what about Jonty’s life. What about his future? It was quite overwhelming because Joshua had so many family members there.
“None of my family, apart from me, felt strong enough to attend and I was sitting with the detective.
“Five-and-a-half years for taking someone’s life and he only has to serve less than half of that. How is that fair?
“That’s not enough for my brother’s life. Jonty didn’t do anything to Joshua. Why did he stab my brother? He had two knives and all his pent-up emotion was taken out on Jonty. He had no chance of survival and died in that driveway alone.”
Patreece Douglas holding a photo of her brother Jonty Douglas who was killed by Joshua Timoti in 2022.
The final insult, Patreece, who has four children, said, was when Timoti was being led back to the cells.
“When Timoti was being led out some of his family yelled ‘love you uso’. That was hard for me to take,” Patreece said.
“That was like a congratulations. He also didn’t acknowledge me.”
The agreed summary of facts submitted to the judge paints a picture of the state of Timoti’s mental health leading up to the killing and focuses on his behaviour rather than the attack itself.
“In the preceding weeks, the defendant’s wife had noticed changes in the defendant’s behaviour, including him not sleeping at night, not eating as much as normal, distancing himself from her and their baby, and exhibiting some paranoia,” the summary of facts states.
The 36-year-old had awakened at 3am that day and left for work two hours early before quitting his job and going to see a counsellor, whom he confided to that “there was a voice in his head which made him feel overwhelmed”. Later that day his wife, concerned about Timoti’s wellbeing, asked their brother-in-law to come over and have “a few quiet beers with him”, court documents state.
While drinking together, Timoti received a call and said a relative had invited them to another Ōtāhuhu address that he had never before visited. After arriving in the neighbourhood, Timoti began repeatedly calling out the name of the person they were to meet, his brother-in-law would later tell police.
When a group of strangers started laughing at the scenario from the balcony of a nearby home, Timoti challenged them to a fight and had to be coaxed back into the car. On the drive back home, he began driving erratically when it was suggested there had been no invitation. His passenger texted ahead, advising his partner and Timoti’s wife to leave the home with the baby before the defendant arrived.
At home, the brother-in-law tried to calm Timoti down, but he kept lingering on the confrontation - grabbing knives from the kitchen several times and expressing an intent to go back to the group that had laughed at him. The other man stopped him each time, but then he left to use the toilet and when he came back Timoti was gone.
Meanwhile, Jonty was visiting the same neighbourhood where Timoti lived, helping to move a couch to a friend’s home.
“Where’s the kids, where’s my kids?” Timoti yelled as he approached Jonty.
“What kids?” Jonty responded as he was punched in the head and repeatedly stabbed with both knives.
Jonty managed to get away before he was attacked again, dying at the scene.
About four hours later, while in a police holding cell, Timoti attacked a detective and was eventually restrained by four police officers.
Joseph Los’e is an award-winning journalist who joined NZME in 2022 as Kaupapa Māori Editor. Los’e was a chief reporter, news director at the Sunday News newspaper covering crime, justice and sport. He was also editor of the NZ Truth and prior to joining NZME worked for Whānau Waipareira.
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