23 Nov 2015

Guilty verdict in Mei Fan murder trial

8:43 pm on 23 November 2015

A jury has found Mei Fan's former husband Michael Preston guilty of her murder two years ago in Wellington.

Michael Preston.

Michael Preston has been on trial for the past month in the High Court in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The verdict was reached after about four hours of deliberations in the High Court in Wellington, where Preston, 60, has been on trial for the past month.

Mei Fan.

Mei Fan Photo: NZ POLICE

Ms Fan was found stabbed to death in her Miramar home in November 2013.

Preston had pleaded not guilty to her murder.

Earlier, the jury was told it needed to decide if the Crown's circumstantial evidence was enough to convict him.

Justice Williams had told the jury there was no direct evidence placing Preston at Ms Fan's home, where her body was found with multiple stab wounds.

The Crown had said the killing was personal, and Preston had a motive to kill Ms Fan after he was issued with a protection order the night before she was killed.

The defence had told the jury much of the Crown's case was based on speculation, and there was not a realistic opportunity for Preston to kill Ms Fan.

Preston, who was also found guilty today of breaching the protection order, will be sentenced in December.

Justice 'long time coming'

Detective Senior Sergeant John van den Heuvel, who was in charge of the investigation into Mei Fan's murder, said he was relieved her former husband had been found guilty.

"Finding justice for Mei has been a long time coming. It's been two years since her death, and today's guilty verdict I know is welcomed by her friends and family, both here in New Zealand and in China."

Mr van den Heuvel said Ms Fan's family attended the last three weeks of the trial but they returned to China at the weekend.

He said the police would be contacting the family with the news.

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