27 Feb 2017

NZer gets life sentence for Gold Coast murder

8:10 pm on 27 February 2017

A New Zealand man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his former partner on the Gold Coast.

Lionel Patea

Lionel Patea Photo: Supplied / Facebook

Former Bandido bikie Lionel Patea, 25, pleaded guilty this morning at the start of his trial for killing his ex-partner, New Zealand-born Tara Brown, in September 2015.

Queensland Supreme Court Justice Debra Mullins handed down the decision after the guilty plea.

Patea showed no emotion in the packed courtroom as Justice Mullins recounted the details of his attack on Ms Brown.

"Ms Brown lost her life in your hands in a brutal way," Justice Mullins said.

"Ms Brown was the fatal victim of your domestic violence. She lost her life at your hands in a traumatic and brutal way.

"She will not now have the joy of seeing her daughter grow up or fulfil the promise of the life that she had led until she was killed by you."

Ms Brown's mother, Natalie Hinton, cried quietly as she heard how Patea thumped her daughter's head and pushed away people who tried to stop him.

Earlier, the court heard how Patea ran Ms Brown's car off a road at Molendinar on the Gold Coast.

She was trapped in her upturned car and Patea bashed her with a metal plate.

The 24-year-old mother of one died a day later in hospital.

"You have to live every day of your life knowing that you deprived Ms Brown of her life and your daughter of her mother," Justice Mullins said.

Justice Mullins said the community denounced domestic violence, and it was important to protect Queenslanders from Patea and send a message to others like him.

She said his guilty plea made no difference to the life sentence she handed down.

Patea and Ms Brown had been in a relationship since 2011 and had a daughter in 2012.

The court was told how Patea chased Ms Brown at high speed through the Gold Coast after she dropped their daughter at daycare.

Patea turned himself in to police about 30 minutes after the attack. He had self-inflicted stab wounds and told police about "doing something bad".

Lawyer reads Patea's statement

Outside court before the sentence was handed down, Patea's solicitor Campbell MacCallum read a statement from his client, saying he pleaded guilty to avoid causing more pain to Ms Brown's family.

"Today I appear before the court to accept full responsibility for my actions against Tara Brown," the statement read.

"I do this knowing the enormous pain I have caused Tara's family, her loved ones and also my own family who love Tara deeply.

"I accept without reservation the punishment imposed on me by the justice system today. I will also be ultimately judged by God.

"I know Tara will never be forgotten, nor will I ever be forgiven. I now live only for my daughter."

Mr MacCallum said the Department of Child Safety would determine when Patea had access to his daughter.


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