Rae Portman's killer jailed

Last updated 11:09 05/02/2014
Rae Portman
RAE PORTMAN: Was four months pregnant when she went missing. Her body was found three months later.
Paraire Te Awa
PHIL DOYLE/Fairfax NZ
MURDERER: Paraire Te Awa's offences were described as chilling by the judge.

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The man who killed Auckland woman Rae Portman and dumped her body will spend at least 21 years in jail.

Paraire Hori Tama Wehi Te Awa, 33, was found guilty of kidnap and murder in November after a High Court trial in Auckland.

It was later revealed his previous convictions involved a crowbar attack and sexual crimes against a young boy.

This morning, in front of members of his and his victim's family, he was jailed for life and Justice Kit Toogood said he would only be released when he was no longer a serious threat to the community.

Dean Michael Addison, 36, who was a pallbearer at Portman's funeral, was also found guilty of kidnapping as well as supplying methamphetamine and possessing a precursor substance.

Justice Toogood jailed him for 12 years with a non-parole period of six years, and stressed Addison was solely responsible for setting the tragic chain of events in motion.

Although it was accepted he did not intend for Portman to be killed, he was described as "the mastermind" behind the operation.

Portman, 33, went missing in Auckland in June 2012 and at a media conference it was revealed she had been four months pregnant.

Her body was found three months later in a pit at the back of a rural Ardmore property belonging to close friends of Te Awa.

Reading her victim impact statement in court today, Portman's mother Rebecca Norton said she had gone through "every mother's nightmare come true" and was being treated for post-traumatic stress.

She also expressed her disbelief that Addison and his wife Nicola, who was best friends with Portman, had pretended to know nothing about her disappearance even at the funeral.

"What do I think about Dean Addison? Nothing. What goes around comes around," Norton said.

"You're just as guilty of her murder as Te Awa."

Lee Rigby, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and was jailed for nearly four years in April, was the Crown's key witness at trial and spent several days on the stand.

He told the jury how he was unexpectedly dragged into the offending and ended up watching Te Awa kill Portman.

Her death came about because of a dispute over 1000 tablets of pseudoephedrine - used to make methamphetamine - known as "a set", which she delivered to Addison.

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Because she was not paid, Portman went to see Addison at his Papakura home but he knew she was coming and arranged for Te Awa, who lived next door, to intercept her.

Portman was bound and gagged by Te Awa before being put in the boot of her own Mazda car and driven to Hamilton by Rigby.

The men stopped in an industrial area where Rigby removed tools and rope from Te Awa's ute at his request.

Te Awa then took a chrome door handle along with some ropes which he placed around her neck before using the metal to twist the noose tighter until she stopped breathing.

Portman's car - with her corpse in the boot - was hidden at the back of a Ngaruawahia property until Te Awa sold the car and transported the body to Auckland.

After seeing details of the case on television, Te Awa's boyfriend came forward and told police of his horror at seeing Te Awa dump the limp body of a blonde woman at a rural South Auckland property.

Justice Toogood described the offending as "chilling", particularly focusing on the lack of emotion showed by Te Awa during and after the murder.

"I consider you to be extremely dangerous," he said.

Te Awa's lawyer Peter Kaye said his client maintained he had nothing to do with Portman's death and felt "utterly hopeless" about the inevitably "crushing sentence".

His mother Georgina Te Awa blasted the judge as she left the courtroom and outside court said there would be an appeal against the conviction.

"I'm beyond hurt," she said.

"I want justice for Rae, yes, but I want the right prick brought forward for it."

Norton thanked police for their efforts and said she just wanted to "go home and try and accept what's happened".

- Stuff

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