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Man who shot Australian camper dead in front of his terrified fiancee jailed for 15 years, six months

"He should still be here but you took him away with two bullets."

Sean McKinnon and his fiancée Bianca Buckley. Source: Supplied

Those were the words of a Canadian tourist who watched in horror as a man shot and killed her fiance in their campervan near Raglan last year.

Mark Garson pleaded guilty to shooting and killing 33-year-old Australian Sean McKinnon last August, and was today sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 15 years and six months.

McKinnon's fiancee, who witnessed the murder, was first to give her victim impact statement to Justice Justine Gordon at the Hamilton High Court today.

Bianca Buckley who was there the night McKinnon was fatally attacked, gave a harrowing account of the events that unfolded.

The pair had met in Canada, and after doing long-distance for some time, decided to meet in New Zealand for a campervan holiday.

As Buckley took the stand, she started by acknowledging Sean, her new friends in Aotearoa and the surfing community of Raglan.

"I met Sean in Canada and the first thing I noticed was his swirling green eyes," she told the court.

From there, she said the pair began their love story. Shortly after, he proposed.

"I was sure he was the one."

She recalled the night before his murder, when he told Buckley laying in her arms was his favourite place in the world.

As Buckley started breaking down in court, Garson hung his head.

"The next day was normal. We had fish and chips, drank a couple beers and went to sleep."

It was early in the morning when the couple woke to a knocking on their van.

"We lay there scared as you, walking around the van knocking, saying you knew we were in there," she said to the killer.

"Sean, being the kind man he is, offered you a solution and offered if he could help."

Ms Buckley said Garson smashed a window in and screamed at them.

"Give me the f***ing keys, I've got a gun."

Ms Buckley said Sean stood tall and tried to reason with Garson, but out of nowhere Garson shot him in his liver.

"Mate, you shot me" she recounted him saying.

Then Garson shot him in the head.

"I watched his life leave his form," she said as she turned to face the killer.

Garson was shaking in the dock, crying.

"Naked, I put my hands up at your mercy, terrified I was next."

"Yeah b****, I shot him," she recalled Garson saying to her.

After demanding the keys, Buckley said she found them but begged Garson for a moment with her dead fiance.

"It was worse than the movies. In the movies they get a moment with their loved ones. Instead, you told you'd deal with him."

Bianca said that, out of fear Garson would change his mind, she ran naked to the top of the cliff and hid.

Garson drove off with McKinnon's body in the back. Police would later find the campervan and body dumped near Cambridge.

"He should still be here today but you took him away with two bullets," Buckley concluded.