The widow of slain Red Fox Tavern publican Christopher Bush has welcomed a “sense of relief and justice” after the two culprits were jailed for life.
Gaye Bush said today’s sentencing brought an end to a “painful chapter” of her life, 33 years after the murder.
“Having some closure after all these years brings about a sense of relief and justice for the family and it is now time to move forward and put this painful chapter behind us,” she said.
Mark Joseph Hoggart and a second man with name suppression were found guilty in March of aggravated robbery and the murder of father-of-two Bush.
The law requires the men be sentenced according to penalties available in 1987, when the murder happened.
For that reason, no minimum period of imprisonment applies.
Apart from the life sentences for murder, Hoggart received seven years’ imprisonment and his accomplice eight years for the aggravated robbery.
The two men were found guilty after a seven-week trial in the High Court at Auckland.
Bush was killed when two heavily disguised robbers burst in through a back door of the Maramarua tavern on October 24, 1987.
Today, Hoggart and his accomplice were both sentenced to life imprisonment.
“Someone was killed for no good reason out of the blue,” Crown prosecutor Anna Devathasan said.
“Those ripples are enormous and they persist 33 years later.