30 Mar 2012

Carmen Thomas's killer jailed for 13 years

7:47 pm on 30 March 2012

The former boyfriend of Auckland woman Carmen Thomas will spend at least 13 years and eight months behind bars for her murder.

Bradford Callaghan killed Ms Thomas with multiple blows to the head in 2010.

He buried the 32-year-old's dismembered body in the Waitakere Ranges and sent texts from Ms Thomas's phone after she was dead, pretending to be her.

Callaghan, who is the father of Ms Thomas's son, last year admitted killing her and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The 33-year-old was sentenced on Friday morning at the High Court in Auckland, where the large public gallery was filled with Ms Thomas's friends and family, including her parents who came from South Africa.

Justice Venning sentenced Callaghan to life imprisonment for her murder and six years in jail for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The sentences are to be served concurrently.

The judge told Callaghan his actions have had a devastating effect on people close to him.

He also condemned the great lengths Callaghan went to to cover his tracks.

"In my judgement, taken overall, your actions make this case near the most serious case of attempting to pervert the course of justice that there could be."

Justice Venning also said the minimum sentence for the charge of perverting the course of justice was not enough to hold Callaghan accountable and deter others.

Impact on family detailed

Ms Thomas's mother Teresa Scott told the court in a victim impact statement she feels completely and utterly destroyed by what happened to her daughter.

She says her heart is broken and her world shattered, and she can not sleep for more than a couple of hours at night because her nightmares are too great.

Ms Thomas's step-father Wayne Scott said he can never forgive Callaghan for going so far as to cut up her body and put it into containers.

He says he has to take anti-depressant medication and has become much more introverted since Ms Thomas's death.