5 Feb 2014

Life sentence for Rae Portman's killer

5:56 pm on 5 February 2014

The man who kidnapped and murdered Rae Portman over a drug deal that went wrong has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 21 years.

Rae Portman.

Rae Portman. Photo: NZ POLICE

In November last year, Paraire Te Awa was found guilty of binding and gagging Ms Portman and putting her in the boot of her own car before driving her to Hamilton with another man in June 2012.

Te Awa then strangled Ms Portman with a strop in an industrial part of Hamilton. Her body was found in a pit on a South Auckland farm three months later.

Another man, Dean Addison, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his part in the kidnapping and dealing methamphetamine. He will serve half of that before being eligible for parole.

Justice Toogood on Wednesday described how Addison owed Ms Portman, 33, money for a drug deal and organised for her to be kidnapped.

However, he said it was Te Awa who subjected Ms Portman to a five-hour ordeal after stuffing her into the boot of her car. He strangled Ms Portman and showed no emotion once the job was done.

Te Awa's mother yelled abuse at Justice Toogood as her son was sentenced. Georgina Te Awa shouted at him before telling reporters outside court that her son had taken the fall for others but was innocent of the crimes.

Ms Portman's mother Rebecca Norton was also in court. In her victim impact statement, she spoke of the pain of losing not only her daughter, but also her unborn grandchild. She said her daughter was four months pregnant when she died and described her as being as harmless as a butterfly.

Ms Norton also told court how Addison's wife had continually sent her text messages and phoned asking for news when her daughter went missing. She addressed Addison in her victim impact statement.

"It was all a bed of lies to protect Dean. You knew the truth of what happened to Rae from the start. To me, you are just as guilty of her murder as Te Awa."

Ms Norton said the loss has left her diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, she continues to see a counsellor and takes sleeping medication.

She hopes the case will serve as a reminder that there is nothing glitzy or glamorous about dealing drugs.