13 Dec 2008

Judge jails 'evil predator' for life

3:08 pm on 13 December 2008

Convicted murderer and rapist Liam Reid has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 26 years for his attacks on two women.

Reid, 36, raped and murdered Christchurch deaf woman Emma Agnew in November last year, and raped and attempted to murder a university student in Dunedin nine days later.

At the High Court in Christchurch on Friday, Reid was sentenced to preventive detention for the rapes, and life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 26 years for Ms Agnew's murder. The two cases were tried together.

The court was told Reid harboured ambitions of being a serial rapist and murderer.

Justice Chisholm told Reid he is an evil predator, and that previous psychological reports about him make chilling reading.

"There is not the slightest flicker of remorse. Put simply, Mr Reid, you are an evil and dangerous predator. You are still denying the offending, and I suppose that perpetuates the attitude that you displayed in the witness box," he said.

Justice Chisholm said Reid's arrogance was unbelievable and he would have to make a miraculous transformation before women could be safe from him if he were allowed back on the streets.

Applause broke out from the public gallery as the judge handed down the sentence and there was a loud cheer when he finished.

Reid grinned and waved to the court before he was led away. He maintains his innocence.

Speaking through a sign language interpreter, Ms Agnew's brother Toby Agnew said he happy with the ruling, although it cannot bring his sister back.

"We can finally have peace. We can finally be left alone and think about our sister."

Evelyn Pateman, Ms Agnew's aunt, says she is relieved at the verdict, but it does not bring closure for the family.

Third highest sentence

The sentence is the third highest given by a New Zealand court, but Reid may appeal its length.

William Bell is serving 33 years for murdering three people at the Wellington-Mt Panmure Returned Services Association in 2001.

Bruce Howse received 28 years for murdering his two step-daughters in 2001. Howse successfully appealed the sentence and it was later reduced to 25 years.

Last year, Graeme Burton, a convicted killer who killed another man while on the run, was also sentenced to 26 years without parole.

Reid's lawyer David Bunce says a decision on an appeal will be made "in the next day".

Reid was sentenced to preventive detention for the rapes - an indeterminate sentence reserved for the most violent, high-risk offenders.

The Corrections Department says 242 prisoners are serving preventive detention at present.