SoH goes crackers over teens’ backgrounds

The HoS shows an unhealthy interest in the parents and residences of three teenagers accused of being involved in the savage attack, torture and killing of a sheep. It somewhat breathlessly reports they “come from well-to-do Auckland families.”

Blake John Kerridge, Mitchell Anthony Herbert and Matthew Ludolph, all 17, were arrested at Mt Maunganui on Tuesday night after allegedly beating a sheep and blowing off its jaw with fireworks the night before.

All three teenagers pleaded not guilty to charges of cruelty to an animal and disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence to occur. They entered no plea to a further charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, namely fireworks. Kerridge also faced a charge of wilful damage, to which he pleaded guilty.

We would normally learn that sort of thing from a court report.

But the SoH goes on to drag the parents into the proceedings, as if to say its editor is surprised to find the scions of the Upper Crust being dragged before the courts in this way. And it has gone to extraordinary lengths to include the values of the respective family homes in today’s story.

All three teenagers live at home with their parents in affluent suburbs in and near Auckland.
Kerridge works as a furniture assembler, Herbert is an electrician and Ludolph a boat builder.

Herbert’s father Richard is the director of accounting firm Richard Herbert & Associates and a former director of Ernst & Young. He and wife Susan Herbert are also shareholders in the exclusive Lakes Resort at Pauanui.

The family live in a mansion in Coatesville, north of Auckland. According to QV, the 2ha lifestyle block is worth around $2 million.

Ludolph’s parents Philip and Raewyn own game boat-building business Ludolph Marine. They live in a $800,000 multi-storey home with sea views on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

Kerridge also lives in a luxury two-storey home, valued at $1.25 million, in Campbells Bay on the North Shore.

Does this mean we will learn – in future SoH court reports – that the accused lived in a modest state house in Mangere valued at $250,000 – or whatever?

Or is the fascination with the value of the family home sparked only in cases involving crimes (alleged) perpetrated against sheep?

According to the police summary of facts, Kerridge, Herbert and Ludolph savagely kicked and beat the sheep with a stick and then threw fireworks at it before placing one in its mouth and lighting it. A couple out walking saw the alleged attack and called police.

Police found the dead sheep soon after and said it was clear attempts had been made to set it alight. The sheep’s abdomen was also cut open.

The teenage defendants have a different story (presumably yet to be tested in court).

Kerridge reportedly told the Bay of Plenty Times the situation had been blown out of proportion and the police had the story wrong.

“We did not kick or beat the sheep or blow off its jaw. We didn’t kill it, it was already dead when we found it,” he said.

“We think it must have fallen off the cliff. It’s a huge drop and maybe its stomach got caught on something on the way down.”

The question of parentage (and family wealth) should be immaterial to all this.

Although – it’s fair to say – the word “bastards” would come to mind fairly fast if the police version of what happened is found to be the right one.

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