Man who murdered his neighbour over loud music has appeal rejected


Tristan Ross Locke stabbed his neighbour Mark Cowling to death at a property in Christchurch after a dispute about loud music. (File photo).

John Kirk-Anderson/Stuff

Tristan Ross Locke stabbed his neighbour Mark Cowling to death at a property in Christchurch after a dispute about loud music. (File photo).

A man who stabbed his neighbour to death over a dispute about loud music has failed in his bid to appeal his murder conviction.

Mark Cowling, 44, was killed at his home in Edgeware, Christchurch, by Tristan Ross Locke, 33, following a dispute over loud music on September 6, 2020.

Locke was sentenced to life imprisonment during a hearing in the High Court at Christchurch. Justice Cameron Mander imposed a minimum non-parole period of 10 years.

Locke represented himself in the appeal against his conviction and used “unorthodox” arguments including claiming he was a victim of the neighbourhood dispute and the murder was “accidental”, the Court of Appeal’s decision released on Thursday said.

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He also claimed to have been failed by various government institutions, including the police and mental health services.

Locke listed 20 grounds of appeal. Almost all were irrelevant to an appeal against conviction and were put to one side.

Some grounds were considered including the reasonableness of the jury’s verdict at trial, but all failed, and the appeal against conviction was dismissed.

The Court of Appeal called the case “terribly tragic”.

“What started as a dispute between neighbours about loud music being played at night escalated to the point where one of them, Mark Cowling, who was living with his partner and their baby, was fatally stabbed and the other, Tristan Locke is now serving a sentence of life imprisonment for murder.”

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