David Jackson Mahia has been sentenced to life in jail for murdering Invercargill woman Nicola Fleming.
Mahia, 31, appeared in the High Court at Invercargill this morning before Justice Cameron Mander after earlier admitting the murder and sexual violation of Nicola Jean Fleming, 38, on February 9 last year.
He was sentenced to life in jail with a minimum non-parole period of 12-and-a-half years.
Details relating to the sexual violation were suppressed.
Fleming's brother read his victim-impact statement to the court and told Mahia his sister would want him to forgive and he would try.
"My family will conquer and we refuse to be victims."
Her death had destroyed his family, he said. "I blame this man for killing my sister."
At an earlier court appearance, Crown solicitor Mary-Jane Thomas, reading the summary of facts, said Mahia and Fleming had been in an on-and-off relationship for a year.
On February 9 Mahia was told Fleming was seeing someone else and at about 2am Mahia went to where she was staying in Tyne St and met her outside, Thomas said.
He grabbed Fleming's hair and pulled her downstairs and across to a carpark, where he hit her.
Then, at the Otepuni Gardens, Mahia pushed Fleming into the river and then attacked her in the gardens, the court was told.
Mahia carried Fleming back to her accommodation and said he last saw her on the floor of her room, where she was covered by a blanket, the court was told.
At some point, Fleming made her way from the floor and on to her bed, where she died some time overnight, Thomas said.
She suffered extensive injuries and the cause of death was blunt trauma injuries to her head, body and extremities, an autopsy revealed.
Mahia later went back to the room and could see from underneath the door that Fleming was no longer on the floor.
He contacted the hostel manager and with a locksmith, they opened the door, Thomas said.
Mahia called emergency services and said his girlfriend had died and that he killed her, Thomas said.
Mahia later handed himself in to police.
In a police interview he said he intended to give Fleming a hiding but not to kill her and he was truly sorry, Thomas said.
- The Southland Times
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