A self-described "devil" who was convicted of one murder and suspected of a second has been sentenced to one of the longest non-parole periods in New Zealand.
Wayne James Bracken, 35, was sentenced to life imprisonment when he appeared in the High Court at Whangarei on Friday, with a minimum non-parole period of 21 years.
Only the likes of killers William Bell, Graeme Burton, Liam Reid and Jason Somerville have been jailed for longer.
The Sunday Star-Times revealed last weekend how Bracken was acquitted of the execution-style shooting of South Auckland man John Maeva in 2008, but went on to murder Jack Davis in remote bush in Northland in February last year. He cut his throat with a thistle-grubber, an instrument similar to a garden hoe. He was convicted after a seven-week trial.
Members of both the Davis and Maeva families attended the sentencing, but Justice Edwin Wylie declined a request by John Maeva, Maeva's father, to speak.
Zelma Davis, Jack's mother, was allowed to address Bracken, but told the Star-Times she was not allowed to read out the more strongly worded sections of her victim impact statement. "I wasn't allowed to tell him how much I hated him."
She understood Bracken was given a copy of her original statement to read in the cells.
Davis said she had mixed feelings about the sentence. "It will be 21 years before he can get parole, but it will still never take the place of having my son."
Esther Maeva, John's sister, said the sentence would allow her family to move on. "It's brought some closure and happiness, just to know that the community is safe. To hear the sort of stuff that happened, of what Wayne had done - he's just a monster, there's no doubt about it."
Bracken was also sentenced on charges of aggravated robbery, injuring with intent to injure and burglary of a Northland couple shortly before the murder.
Justice Wylie said the killing was "cold blooded" and noted Bracken's lack of remorse and previous convictions.
- © Fairfax NZ News