Son at centre of fatal fight
Fri, 30 Mar 2012 6:03p.m.
By Simon Shepherd
The murder of Carmen Thomas was brutal, but not brutal enough to invoke the toughest sentencing laws.
Brad Callaghan will serve a minimum 13 years and eight months for beating his former girlfriend Carmen Thomas to death, then cutting up her body and hiding the pieces.
The judge said that made it one of the most serious cases of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
But, he accepted it was done in a fit of rage.
Ms Thomas was a lively young mother, who worked as an escort to support her five-year-old son.
The educated, intelligent engineer father, would also become the killer of his son’s mother.
“Our hearts are broken, our world shattered and we feel completely and utterly destroyed by what Brad has done to our family,” Ms Thomas’ mother Teresa Scott said.
“I could possibly forgive someone for taking a life under certain circumstances, but I will never be able to forgive this man for being able to cut up a body and hide it in containers,” her stepfather, Wayne, added.
Ms Thomas’ body was found set in concrete in containers in the Waitakere Ranges in October, 2010.
Callaghan eventually led police there, after contriving a complex cover up, which included pretending Ms Thomas was still alive.
But three months earlier, during a fight over their son Jack, Callaghan had clubbed Ms Thomas to death with a child’s baseball bat.
“I accept that the murder was entirely unpremeditated and I take into account your explanation for acting in the way that you did,” Justice Venning said in handing down the sentence.
The non-parole period for the charge of murder was just 11 years. If it had been considered more brutal, Callaghan could have been given 17 years.
But Justice Venning was less forgiving when it came to the cover up.
“Your actions make this case near the most serious case of attempting the course of justice there could be.”
Callaghan was given a total minimum non-parole period of 13 years, eight months.
“Mr Callaghan has imposed a sentence on himself through his action on the day, and that has had a devastating effect on two families,” Detective Inspector Mark Benefield said.
Callaghan’s supporters left court without commenting.
In a statement Ms Thomas’ family said nothing can bring their Carmen back and for that, they are still angry.
But, the family say they are grateful that Callaghan will be away for a long time, so he can reflect on the immense damage he has done.
Timeline of the Carmen Thomas case
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31/03/2012 7:33:04 a.m.
Beating someone to death isn't "brutal enough"?? Good grief!
30/03/2012 10:56:26 p.m.
This is an outrage. What will this sentence do? It will encourage others to go and do the same thing. And people wonder why, within the oECD, NZ is ranked near the top in terms of murder, violent crime, domestic violence etc. Yeah, NZ has really tough guys. Big boys don't cry, they just beat people up and kills them.
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