The wife of high-profile defence lawyer Greg King has made an emotional tribute to the man she says was her soulmate and the most gentle, loving and affectionate person she knew.
Her husband of 15 years is being farewelled at Wellington’s St Pauls Cathedral today after being found dead next to his car in the suburb of Newlands a week ago.
Catherine Milnes-King says the duo “fit together like peas and carrots” and he was her “everything”.
“We were the love of each other’s lives. He was my soulmate. He felt empathy and other peoples’ burden. He was often moved to tears,” she says.
“I’d like to quote Greg: ‘If I had my life over, I would have done so many things differently but what I would never change is my marriage to my wonderful wife and our beautiful children. I love them with every essence of my being, my parents too and my brother’,” she says.
“Greg, you are my stars, you are my moon, you are my universe. You are my everything,” she says.
Hundreds of mourners are attending the service at the cathedral, just up the road from the High Court and the Court of Appeal where Mr King spend a lot of his time.
A lawyer’s wig and gown sit upon Mr King’s casket which arrived just before 10 this morning. His distinctive blue bag also features, complete with his embroided initials.
Mr King, 43, was involved in more than 40 murder trials and defended some high profile murder-accused including Scott Watson, Ewen Macdonald and Clayton Weatherston.
He was the youngest lawyer given approval to conduct murder trials in 1996 at the age of 27 and in 2007 was New Zealand lawyer of year. Last year, Mr King received the Eisenhower fellowship to the United States to study their justice system.
Wellington District Court has closed for two hours as a sign of respect.
Those paying their respects today include his mentor Judith Ablett-Kerr QC, his university professor Mark Henaghan and his junior Liam Collins.
Ms Ablett-Kerr made a stirring speech where she reminisced about the first time she met Mr King who ‘whirlwinded’ into her office 20 years ago to apply for an internship.
“He said ‘I don’t know if law is for me. I’ve always wanted to be a helicopter pilot,” she says.
Then she spoke of hearing the news of his death last week.
“The light that I had witnessed which had burned so brightly was extinguished so suddenly and so unexpectedly,” Ms Ablett-Kerr says. “But my relationship will not end with his death,” she added.
Government Minister Tony Ryall opened the eulogies with a heartfelt message about his friend.
“He was a man of great empathy and had a willingness to look beyond the case,” Mr Ryall says.
Auckland Crown Prosecutor Simon Moore, former TVNZ chief Ian Fraser and MPs Nick Smith and Trevor Mallard are also there.
Palmerston North Crown Prosecutors Ben Vanderkolk and Paul Murray – who Mr King went up against in the trial of Mr Macdonald – are also there.
Kiwi artist Brook Fraser cancelled her American tour to sing at the funeral. Her father Bernie – a former All Black – was good friends with Mr King and is the god father of one of his daughters
Mr King's family have asked legal colleagues of the 43-year-old to write to his two young daughters directly with personal accounts of Mr King's role in New Zealand’s legal history.
Mr King leaves behind wife Catherine and their two young girls, Pippa and Millie.