31 Mar 2011

Killer could be out in 11 years: family stunned

9:58 pm on 31 March 2011

The father of a woman murdered by her husband says the family is stunned by the fact that the minimum non-parole period attached to the killer's sentence of life imprisonment is only 11 years.

Horse-breeder Gregory Meads killed Helen Meads, 42, by shooting her in the throat at close range at their rural property in Matamata in September 2009.

During his trial, the 55-year-old maintained that the shooting was not intentional. But a jury found otherwise last October last year, and on Thursday Justice Christopher Allan, calling it an unprovoked and senseless killing, passed sentence in the High Court at Hamilton.

In its closing submission, the Crown said Meads deliberately shot his wife in what it called a controlled killing.

The defence said he did not intend to kill his wife and his biggest mistake was taking a gun with him when he went to confront her over their marriage breakdown.

Daughter hopes he will rot in hell

The father and daughter of Helen Meads gave emotional victim impact statements at the sentencing.

Mrs Meads's father, David White, told the court Meads had wrecked his family and shown no remorse.

Afterwards, he said: "I think we're all pretty stunned that it is only an 11-year sentence." Such a callous murder deserved at least 17 years' jail, Mr White says.

Mrs Meads's daughter, Kimberley White, told the court she had nightmares over her mother's killer and hoped he would rot in hell.

Reparation described as inadequate

Justice Allan also ordered Meads to pay a total of $65,000 in reparation to family members - a sum described by Mr White as inadequate.

He says it's a far cry from the wealth the Meads family own, which, according to his research, is about $40 million.

Mr White says reparation should have been nearer the $1 million mark. He says very little weight appears to have been given to the fact that he and his wife are now bringing up their 11-year-old granddaughter.