'No amount of apologies': Gang leader's heartfelt letter to family of man whose murder he ordered

A former New Zealand gang member has apologised to his murder victim's family in a heartfelt open letter 22 years after the killing.

New Zealand's Brownie Mane was one of four men convicted of killing Christopher Crean in 1996 to prevent the New Plymouth man from giving evidence against the Taranaki Black Power gang.

Mane was sentenced to life in prison and served 19 years behind bars before he was released on parole.

It has been two years after his release and Mane has written a tell-all apology to Mr Crean's family on Facebook.

Brownie Mane was vice-president of Taranaki Black Power's New Plymouth chapter . Source: Facebook / Maori Prison Support Services

"There are no amount of apologies I can ever say to compensate this family for what I did," Mane said.

"I can never wipe up all the tears that have fallen by this family for their loved one so I will never be seeking forgiveness for what I've done.

"The 19 years I spent in prison may seem like a long time to some. In my view, this 19 years is nothing compared to my victim's family."

"Even though it's nearly been 22 years since this crime happened, I can only imagine that their pain and hurt is still very raw and that it must only feel like yesterday for them that this devastating event took place."

Mane, who was the vice-president of Taranaki Black Power's New Plymouth chapter at the time of Crean's assassination, was one of four men convicted of Crean's murder.

Robert Shane Maru and Denis Luke remain in prison, and Symon George Manihera is on parole.

Mane had earlier ordered Robert Shane Maru to shoot Crean to stop him giving evidence in a case about a Black Power attack on a Mongrel Mob member, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Christopher Crean was killed in 1996. Source: New Zealand Herald
Mane detailed his time in prison. Facebook / Maori Prison Support Services

On the night Crean was killed, he answered the door with his baby in his arms and his killer, Robert Shane Maru, decided not to shoot.

Maru returned later that night and shot Mr Crean when he was not holding his daughter. Mane's public apology comes one year after Mr Crean's daughter Stephanie forgave her father's killers.

He described the prison environment as not a place for the "faint-hearted".

"I spent five years in the maximum security blocks with what many would call the worst of the worst and they wouldn't be wrong," he wrote.

"Parry is not a place for the faint hearted and if you showed any kind of fear or weakness here you were going to become someones entertainment whether it was sexual, physical, verbal or mental abuse, any of the above often took place somewhere behind the razor wire of the maximum security prison.

"Those who spent time in here will know what im talking about. The violence was as pure as it gets: stabbings, bashings, rapes, pack attacks, gang brawls, 'one outs in the rec room downstairs' were a common theme and the men in here trained excessively all day every day and if you weren't training it was soon noticed and noted.

"The prison guards were not immune from the violence either and they often came under attack and everyone was on full alert from the time we were unlocked to lock down."

Mane apologised for his actions. Facebook / Maori Prison Support Services

Mane now says he is sorry for the things he has done.

"I pray one day that my brothers from inside those prisons return to their own homes to help their own hapu and iwi, and more importantly their own families as a start," he said.