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Reporter's killer had history of violence

THE killer of a journalist has been jailed for 12 years as the full horror of his violent past emerged.

Former BBC Scotland newsman Phillip Cottrell was found unconscious in a street in New Zealand in December 2011.

The 43-year-old had been attacked on his way home from a nightshift at a radio station in Wellington.

Nicho Waipuka, 20, was sentenced yesterday after he pled guilty to manslaughter. It has now been revealed that Waipuka was on intensive supervision when he attacked Mr Cottrell.

The High Court in Wellington heard that just two weeks before the brutal beating, Waipuka had been found guilty of punching a stranger in the head, knocking him to the ground.

Waipuka had pled guilty to assault and was sentenced on November 22.

The judge at the time noted he should be sent to prison, but instead gave Waipuka a "last chance" by imposing a sentence of intensive supervision.

Seventeen days later, he went into town intending to "knock someone out".

Waipuka saw Mr Cottrell walking down the street, crossed the road and punched him in the head.

He then kicked or jumped on him, causing his skull to shatter and his arm to fracture, before taking his victim's wallet and fleeing.

The reporter – who had brittle bones – died in hospital the following day.

Waipuka was sentenced to 12 years and 10 months after being cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.

His co-accused, Manuel Robinson, 18, was cleared.

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