9 Mar 2012

Marine who murdered New Zealand nurse gets life

3:42 pm on 9 March 2012

A former United States marine who killed a New Zealand nurse in Sydney has been sentenced to life in prison.

Walter Ciaran Marsh, 51, was sentenced in the Supreme Court on Friday for the murder of Michelle Beets.

He was convicted by a jury in November 2011 of cutting the throat of Ms Beets, a nursing unit manager, outside her Sydney home in April last year.

Marsh had developed a deep hatred of the 57-year-old after she gave him a bad work reference.

Marsh, a US citizen who wanted permanent residency in Australia, worked as a nurse at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital.

He made 21 applications for other jobs but came to the view he was being rejected because of bad references from Ms Beets.

Marsh had staked out Ms Beets' home, had a knife specially sharpened for the brutal attack, and disposed of his clothes afterwards.

In his sentencing Justice Derek Price said the murder had been planned "in a meticulous way".

"This is a terrible crime at the top of the range of the offence of murder," he told the court.