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`It's What We Expected' Agnew Family Say Of Reid's Guilt

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
emma-agnew.jpg
emma-agnew.jpg

Wellington, Oct 31 NZPA - Shaven-headed, tattooed and sinister, Liam James Reid was jailed for life today for the shocking rape-murder of a deaf Christchurch woman and rape of a Dunedin student.

After the unanimous verdict was delivered in the High Court in Christchurch following an emotional 17-day trial, the family of victim Emma Agnew, 20, declared it was no more than what they anticipated.

But a grim Henry Agnew, Emma's father, told reporters the outcome was "really, really good" and the family were "very relieved".

"We miss Emma so much," he added. But "we are a very close family so we will just keep going."

Behind the brave quotes though there was obvious misery, wrought by the appalling death of a bright and bubbly young woman.

Her brother Toby, also deaf, told reporters: "I feel like it's just not fair. We can't bring our sister back to life. And it's changed our life forever."

It took the jury just four hours -- three last night, one this morning -- to find Reid, 36, guilty of the rape and murder of Ms Agnew, and the rape, indecent assault, robbery and attempted murder of a 21-year-old Dunedin student nine days later.

The young woman, who has not been named, narrowly escaped death at the hands of Reid to testify against him in Christchurch.

She told of being attacked in the street by a man who put a rope around her neck and choked her.

Reid stood quietly and then nodded as Justice Lester Chisholm sentenced him to life, and then remanded him to December 12 so the Crown's application for preventive detention can be heard.

Two health assessors' reports will be prepared during the remand to assess his risk of future offending.

Members of the deaf community sobbed quietly in the back of the court as the verdicts were pronounced and interpreted in sign language for them.

The was one loud call but nothing else.

Emma Agnew went missing on November 15 last year after texting her family that morning to say she was planning to meet a man who was interested in buying her car.

Her burnt-out car was found in Bromley Park, in eastern part of the city, that night.

Ten days later Ms Agnew's body was discovered hidden in scrub near a motor camp, 15km northeast of Christchurch.

She was naked and had been raped and choked to death with a sock stuffed into the back of her throat, blocking her airway.

On November 27 Reid was arrested after the armed offenders squad swooped on a Christchurch boarding house.

Before that news about the violent sexual assault in Dunedin had led to speculation the same person was involved in both crimes.

In court today, it was disclosed that Reid, had been on trial in the past for abducting a woman, sexually violating her, and attempting to murder her during a session of experimental sex he described as "cool".

Then calling himself Julian Heath Edgecombe, he was acquitted of those charges in October 2002.

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