Teen who killed stranger with martial arts kick released from prison

A teenager who high-fived a friend after fatally kicking a stranger to the head with a martial-arts style manoeuvre has been released from prison and placed on home detention.

On Wednesday, Mark Nagel, 19, appeared in the High Court at Christchurch where he was resentenced to five months of home detention on an admitted charge of manslaughter following the death of Anthony Kelly.

The 61-year-old died after being kicked in the face by the teen on October 18 last year.

In October this year, Nagel was jailed for two years on the manslaughter charge but granted leave to apply for home detention by Justice Rachel Dunningham.

Nagel also spent five months in custody before he was sentenced.

In hearing the teen’s application for home detention, which was opposed by the Crown, Justice Dunningham said he had completed a variety of personal development courses while locked up and had undergone counselling.

She believed his time behind bars was enough deterrence and denunciation to warrant him being granted home detention and acknowledged he would be well supported at the proposed home detention address.

Nagel also faced the possibility of being deported back to South Africa by Immigration New Zealand.

Conditions of Nagel’s home detention sentence include that he is not to consume or possess alcohol or drugs, not enter the central city where the offending happened, not contact the victims of his offending, and not have contact with the people he was with when he offended.

‘You will never escape it’

During Nagel’s sentencing, Kelly’s son said his father would never be able to have a pint with him at the pub, watch him get married or watch his grandchildren grow up. Most importantly, he would never be able to hug him or tell him he loves him.

Kelly’s son said that, at 21, people should be out with their friends having a laugh. Instead, he was sitting at his father’s hospital bed, praying he would wake up after the attack.

“A part of me will be broken for the rest of my life,” Kelly’s son said.

“My father was a good man who loved life and had fun. I am proud to be his son.”

Kelly’s brother said the family had to make the “heart-wrenching” decision to turn off Kelly’s life support, stating he fought to live up until the very end.

“What you did will be with you for the rest of your life. You will never escape it.”

The fatal kick

According to the summary of facts, Kelly was at the Christchurch Central Bus Exchange, where he was asked by security staff to leave about 6.15pm.

Kelly walked north on Colombo St before walking into Cashel Mall. Nagel and his associates followed as they believed Kelly had been taking photos of them on his phone.

About 6.20pm, Nagel and his associates began to engage with Kelly outside Ballantynes department store.

Kelly tried to walk away but one of the group approached him, causing Kelly to swing a punch in self-defence. The person then kicked Kelly in the shin.

Nagel walked through the group, approached Kelly and kicked him in the face with his right foot, using a martial arts-style kick.

Kelly immediately lost consciousness and fell to the ground, where his head hit the pavement.

Nagel and his group fled back towards the bus exchange. As they ran, Nagel high-fived his associate who had kicked Kelly in the shin, before the pair left on separate buses.

Members of the public attempted CPR on Kelly until emergency services arrived and took him to hospital, where he was put in an induced coma.

Ten days later, at 11.04am, Kelly died from his injuries.

When questioned by police, Nagel admitted kicking Kelly in the face because he wanted him to delete the photos on his phone. Police found no evidence that Kelly was taking photos of the group.

By Emily Moorhouse
Open Justice multimedia journalist

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