4 Feb 2013

Life for woman who killed her lover

9:16 pm on 4 February 2013

A 44-year-old woman who murdered another woman in Rotorua last year has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum parole period of 17 years.

Gwenda Sloane was sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua on Monday for killing Michelle Hoffman-Tamm, 51.

Ms Hoffman-Tamm had been missing for 16 days before her body was discovered in forest near Murupara in Bay of Plenty.

The summary of facts show Sloane and Ms Hoffman-Tamm had been friends for more than 20 years but in the past year had formed a sexual relationship, which had become more intense prior to the murder.

The pair had been drinking in the evening of 7 November when Sloane became enraged and attacked Ms Hoffman-Tamm, stabbing her multiple times and mutilating her body.

She buried the body two days later.

Sloane pleaded guilty to murder in December.

In sentencing, Justice Keane said the attack was unusually ferocious.

He said Sloane accepted she must be sentenced to life imprisonment.

"You subject Ms Hoffman-Tamm to a sustained and unusually ferocious assault during which she died. You also mutilated her."

The judge also told the court the crime had devastated Ms Hoffman-Tamm's family.

My world has collapsed - son

In his victim impact statement, Ms Hoffman-Tamm's son, Rhys Hoffman, told the court his whole world had fallen apart.

He said he can't trust anyone in his family anymore because of what Sloane did.

"We didn't have a chance to build on our relationship and have a mum and son part family. Gwenda has taken my life and my trust away from me.

Rhys Hoffman said outside the court he's grateful Sloane was sent to prison for at least 17 years.

Ms Hoffman-Tamm's daughter, Monique, said outside the court she's broken hearted by the loss of her mother.

"Seventeen years and that would have been nothing to Mum. She still would have probably been in the garden with her hammer and nails."

Ms Hoffman-Tamm says hearing the details of the attack on her mother during the sentencing was gutwrenching.