Warning – This story contains disturbing details of domestic violence.
A Whangārei killer who killed his partner more than 100 times has been sentenced to life in prison.
In June, a jury found Samuel Hemura Pau guilty of killing Bridget Symonds, the mother of two.
Her disappearance was reported in March 2019 and her buried body was found in a shallow grave last year.
This morning, her family held hands and wept as Pau was sentenced to life in prison for her murder.
He was beaten for more than 90 minutes and had a fractured skeleton.
Pau sat in the dock without a mask and expression and was told he would not be eligible for parole for 17 years.
Justice Christine Gordon sentenced him to life in prison for two separate beatings to Sammonds and three other injuries to a former colleague.
The jury heard evidence from dozens of witnesses, including police investigators, family members and scientists.
Symonds’ mother, Carol, has died of colon cancer since the trial.
During the trial, he told the jury that he last saw his daughter in February 2019, about two weeks before her disappearance.
Sammonds stayed with his mother for a while and was told to leave at a countdown supermarket in Wangiri.
Callen told the High Court that her daughter shouted at her while she was driving, but she could not get him out at that time.
“After about half an hour of driving, I was trying to figure out in my head what he was screaming at me, and I suddenly clicked: ‘Oh my God he said’ Don’t forget my headstone ‘
Callen said her daughter was devastated by the beating on Valentine’s Day, when she came to stay.
She said her legs were covered with “black and blue” wounds from her hips to her knees.
The jury also heard from Poe’s former housemate, David Erie.
He said Poe told him while drinking that when Symonds went missing, he lost it and “threw it away” and then burned his body.
Poe said she did so because “she was taking him to court for assault,” Jericho recalled, and Poe was “blasphemed” when asked to surrender.
Where to get help
Women’s Shelter: (0800 733 843)
This is not right (0800 456 450)
Brightness: 0508 744 633.
Victim Assistance: 0800 650 654.
Help call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): 04801 6655
The National Network of Family Violence Services NZ has information on agencies that specialize in domestic violence.