The family of murdered Australian surfer Sean McKinnon anticipate a lengthy jail sentence for his killer at his sentencing in New Zealand.
The Hamilton High Court will convene on Wednesday to sentence local man Mark Garson for killing the Victorian, and threatening to kill his Canadian parter Bianca Buckley.
Mr McKinnon was shot in his campervan in the middle of the night on August 16 last year, as the couple holidayed together near the North Island surf town of Raglan.
Ms Buckley fled on foot through forest, while Garson drove the campervan with her fiance’s body inside.
The murder was set for trial in November, only for Garson to change his plea to guilty a month out.
Speaking to the NZ Herald, Mr McKinnon’s siblings said they wanted to see “a long sentence” for Garson.
“The pure violence and lack of remorse shown shows someone not safe to be in the community,” one said.
“The least he can do is give us the closure of telling us exactly what happened and why,” another said.
“I’m glad he has pleaded guilty. None of this will bring our beautiful Sean back, we don’t get to hear him play music, watch him surf or see the beautiful house he would have built.”
The Herald says Ms Buckley may have received a special waiver from the government to enter New Zealand and attend the sentencing.
New Zealand is largely closed to all international visitors – aside from citizens and residents – due to COVID-19.
The midwife previously told the court of the lingering effects of that traumatic night, and her devastation to lose the chance to build a future with her soon-to-be husband.
“No punishment he ever receives will balance out his wrongdoing. I’m just glad he has finally stopped wasting everyone’s time by pleading guilty,” she said.
The sentencing begins at 10am NZDT (8am AEDT).