Love triangle killers convicted of murder in 2019

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By Open Justice from

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Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

A man has been sentenced to life in prison and a woman to house arrest after the death of Andrew James Little, 35, who was stabbed 13 times in 2019 as a result of a fatal love triangle.

Today, Judge Jonathon Eaton sentenced Thomas Issiah Ellery, 25, to the Christchurch Supreme Court to life with a minimum term of 11 years for murder and Sarah Elizabeth Barry, 28, to 7 months house arrest for manslaughter.

The summary of the facts states that Barry and Ellery visited Little’s flat on Skerton Ave, Hornby in Christchurch in October 2019.

The pair went “seeking retaliation” as they believed Little threw a brick through their bedroom window and smashed the windows of a van.

Barry and Little knew each other and were in a relationship for two years before breaking up in May 2019.

In August 2019, Barry and Ellery entered a relationship. Little and Ellery didn’t know each other.

In October 2019, Little had tried to rekindle his relationship with Barry, but she “resisted his advances”.

On October 7, a brick was thrown through Barry’s window where she and Ellery were sleeping in bed and the windows of Ellery’s van were smashed.

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Three days later, the couple visited Little’s house, but he hid, so they left.

On Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 7:30 PM, Barry and Ellery visited an address on Skerton Ave where they believed Little was staying with a roommate.

Barry started banging on the door of the house and yelled “wake up, motherfucker…we’re going to get you”.

Little got scared and told his roommate to hide in his bedroom and threw something out the window at Barry and Ellery before going out.

An altercation occurred between Ellery and Little when Little was stabbed 13 times.

He received stab wounds to his right cheek, the right side of the back of his neck, his right upper arm, back, left upper arm and his chest.

During the attack, the knife went through Little’s ribs, entered the chest cavity and perforated the heart, causing severe internal and external bleeding.

Little stumbled through the house before falling to the floor in his roommate’s bedroom, where he died.

During the altercation, Ellery suffered a cut on his left forearm. The couple left the house to go to a relative on Pages Rd to get first aid for Ellery’s arm.

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The relative examined the wound and said further medical treatment was needed, so Barry and Ellery drove to the 24-hour surgery on Madras St where Ellery was being treated.

At around 11:25 p.m., the couple drove back to Barry’s house where they were found by police shortly after.

Barry appeared in court and sat in the dock with her head low in her hands as the summary of the facts and the victim statements were read.

Ellery sat with his lawyers and watched Little’s family as she read their victim statements.

Hayley McDonald, Little’s older sister, said she was devastated that her only sibling was gone.

‘Did he beg for his life? He must have known at this stage that he would be killed by both of you.

“It makes me sick to know people like you in our society.

“No punishment today will be good enough that either one of you will receive… the community should be protected from people like you both.”

Emma Brewer, Little’s daughter’s mother, turned to both Barry and Ellery as she read her victim statement.

‘Do you regret what you’ve done?

“Some of you are role models. My daughter lives with this every day… I will despise you forever.”

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Little’s mother and father also sat in the public gallery with the rest of their family and had their victim statements read to the court by a police detective and a support person.

Kerryn Beaton QC, who represents Ellery, apologized on his behalf to Little’s family for the “suffering” he had caused.

Beaton said factors to consider during the sentencing were Ellery’s difficult upbringing, abuse and trauma.

Beaton also noted that Ellery himself was stabbed when he was 19 and had shown remorse for his actions.

Barry’s attorney April Kelland said Barry also had a “traumatic upbringing” that led her to where she is today.

Kelland said Barry had also taken “huge steps” toward rehabilitation, both before and after the crime.

Justice Eaton turned to Ellery and acknowledged his difficult upbringing, but said it was clear that Little was not responsible for what happened.

“The fact that young men carry knives far too often leads to lives being lost, lives being ruined.

“I think you would have been comfortable if you knew you were armed with a knife.”

* This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald.