The Toyota vehicle that owner Orren Scott Williams shot after the group of four forced their way into his home in the early hours of June 6, 2019. Photo/Dean Taylor

A young mother remains haunted by having to lower her two children through a bedroom window and sprint across farmland in the dark after a group of armed men burst into their home.

Kawhia’s mother, Taryn Williams, didn’t have time to wear shoes or wrap her children in warm clothes after she was assaulted by the intruders nearly three years ago.

She says she will never forget the sound of breaking glass when the masked intruders, Grayson Toilolo, Shaun Te Kanawa, Joe Tumaialu and Faalili Moleli Fauatea – who was fatally shot – burst into their rural home around 3 a.m. morning on June 6, 2019.

Toilolo appeared before Judge Jonathon Down today for conviction in Hamilton District Court on charges of aggravated burglary, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and wounding with intent to injure after being convicted at trial earlier this year.

His co-defendants have pleaded guilty and are currently serving prison sentences.

Orren Williams, 40, was found not guilty of Fauatea’s murder by a jury in September 2020.

Crown Prosecutor Paige Noorland read victim impact statements from Taryn Williams and her husband, Orren, detailing the fear they felt at the time and the reprisals they still fear.

In her statement, Taryn Williams said she could also still see the four masked men breaking into their family home.

“The man with the gun was so arrogant…and was pointing it at me with pleasure.”

While she suffered physical injuries from having to carry her two frozen children over rough terrain in pitch black, it was the psychological damage that remained.

She also spoke of having to relive the trauma of that night, testifying at trial, when she was just beginning to make progress in her recovery.

Williams also struggled to understand how anyone could offend children in this way.

Owner Orren Scott Williams pictured during his trial in September 2020. Photo/Belinda Feek
Owner Orren Scott Williams pictured during his trial in September 2020. Photo/Belinda Feek

Toilolo, now 21, and his co-offenders entered the Harbor Rd house looking for drugs.

The couple both explained that Toilolo “wasn’t man enough” to take responsibility and plead guilty to his offense earlier, as his co-defendant.

Armed robbery

On the night of June 5, 2019, Te Kanawa and another co-offender, Emma Salvation, hatched a plan to break into the house and steal a quantity of cannabis which she called “good pay”.

However, she warns Te Kanawa that “if [Williams] grabs you, he’ll shoot you”.

Te Kanawa and these three male co-offenders knocked on Williams’ door around 3 a.m. the next morning.

Already on his feet as he reached for an inhaler for his child, Williams opened the door to be confronted by the group wearing some sort of disguise on their faces.

The door was kicked down and a group of men burst into the house and into the hallway.

The noise woke Taryn Williams who got up to see what the commotion was to see the men armed with a gun, another with a machete.

The intruders attempted to bring the situation under control, assaulting Taryn and leaving her in a fetal position on the ground.

As the intruders had the attention of Orren Williams, Taryn Williams stood up, gathered her children and lowered them through a bedroom window before running safely through an enclosure in the dark .

Orren Williams managed to free himself from the attackers and ran to grab a gun from his gun cabinet. The group fled as Williams fired several shots in the darkness, hitting them each and one fatally.

Noorland urged the judge to adopt a similar starting point for his co-defendant between 9½ and 10 years old and also pointed to Toilolo’s criminal history in Australia before he was deported to New Zealand and he committed this offense shortly thereafter.

Toilolo’s lawyer, Charles Bean, failed at trial to argue that his client did not enter the house, with Judge Down confirming that it was his footprint that was found on a door .

Bean asked the judge to end a four-year prison sentence after considering his remorse, his youth and the content of his S27 culture report.

However, Judge Down struggled to find remorse, instead of what he had read Toilolo had expressed more grief for the loss of his friend.

“None of this would have happened if Mr. Toilolo and his cronies hadn’t invaded [Williams’] house that night.

“Toilolo was shot in the abdomen but made a full recovery. Another person suffered a permanent arm injury and another a permanent leg injury.

“It’s clear from the reports that Mr. Toilolo is traumatized himself…it doesn’t help to point out that it was brought on by their own actions.”

By jailing Toilolo for seven years, the judge also agreed to the Crown’s request to also impose a minimum 50% non- parole period, just like his co-offenders.

“Frankly, it’s more necessary when you look at the two co-offenders because they showed remorse and showed it well by pleading guilty.

“Mr. Toilolo didn’t… so he showed that he had no remorse and that he presented a permanent and continuous danger to the public.”