25 Jul 2008

Man jailed 18 years for murder of wife

5:59 pm on 25 July 2008

A Hamilton man who beat his wife to death because he said she was "lippy" has been jailed for at least 18 years.

Manu Sikuvea was sentenced at the High Court in Wellington on Friday for the murder of his wife Sarah Edwards in 2007.

Sikuvea had pleaded guilty to one charge of murder and two charges of sexual violation.

The court heard he beat his wife for 2½ hours, fuelled by alcohol and drugs. Sikuvea claimed the beating occurred because Ms Edwards was "lippy" towards him.

Justice Gendall said Sikuvea's actions deprived Ms Edwards of her life and the couple's five children of their mother. He set a minimum non-parole period of 18 years.

Friends and family of Sarah Edwards gathered in the court to hear the verdict, and several held photographs of the 33-year-old, found beaten to death in a van in the Lower Hutt suburb of Taita in on Easter Monday last year.

Sikuvea's lawyer Robert Stevens says the attack was fuelled by a cocktail of alcohol, anger and jealousy and his client is deeply remorseful.