An emotional Detective Inspector Scott Beard says Grace Millane’s family were "pleased" with the sentence handed down to her killer as he criticised the "rough sex" defence used in the case.
Det Insp Beard said that the fact the 28-year-old killer maintained his innocence was irrelevant.
The 28-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years at the High Court in Auckland today.
The man was found guilty of murdering Grace Millane in November last year - convicted of strangling the British backpacker to death in his CityLife apartment between December 1-2, 2018 - on the eve of Grace’s 22nd birthday.
“The jury found him guilty, that’s the bottom line, he can maintain his innocence but the jury found him guilty,” Det Insp Beard told media outside court following the sentencing.
“I’ve just spoken to the family since the sentence was handed down, they are pleased with the sentence.”
“It does mean they can move on somewhat with their lives, but as I’ve said they’ll never get Grace back and they actually have the life-long sentence.”
Det Insp Beard was also forthright in his views on the defence that was taken in the case.
“Strangling someone for five to 10 minutes is not rough sex, if people are going to use that type of defence all it actually does is repeatedly re-victimises the victim and the victim’s family,” he said.
“In this case, the Millanes have had to sit through the trial for a number of weeks and their daughter’s background rightly or wrongly, was out in the public.”
"I don’t believe that rough sex should be a defence, I understand why a defence would use it, the bottom line is an individual has killed someone.”
Det Insp Beard wouldn’t weigh into potential changes in the law, saying that was the domain of politicians and those in the justice system.
He thanked both the public for their support and the police officers who worked on the case.
“They were professional, hard-working and determined to find justice for Grace and that’s what happened today.”
“I also want to thank the New Zealand public for their messages of support that they sent through the investigation and the prosecution for the Millane family, it was absolutely unbelievable.”