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McNee family grieves, killer finds God

Sun 19 Sep 2004 In: New Zealand Daily News

In the wake of Phillip Edwards' nine-year sentence for killing David McNee, police have said they discovered no evidence to suggest the two men knew each other before the killing, as suggested by certain MPs under parliamentary privilege in recent weeks. Acting Auckland City District Commander Gavin Jones said at a press conference that if such information had been discovered, the jury would have been told, and denied allegations of withholding further pertinent information on Edwards from the jury. McNee's family, having kept silent until the sentencing because they wanted Edwards to have a fair trial, have now spoken of their deep-seated grief at their loss. Brother-in-law and Crown Law Office lawyer John Oliver said the family wanted closure and might have it now, though they do not accept that Edwards' statement after the trial was an apology. Defence lawyer Roy Wade tried to persuade the court that Edwards was sorry and trying to turn his life around in order to get a lighter sentence. He produced a letter from a prison chaplain saying Edwards had asked to pray for Mr McNee and his family on the anniversary of the killing, and that he worshipped every Sunday since entering prison 15 months ago. He didn't have the vocabulary to express his emotions, but a prison chaplain knew the difference between remorse and crocodile tears, Wade said. Edwards had amassed 56 convictions - mostly for dishonesty - by the time he was picked up by McNee on K Rd on July 20 last year, willing to exchange sexual favours for $120. McNee would have turned 57 last Sunday. Edwards punched McNee in the face up to 50 times, spraying his bedroom with blood, then left him to choke on his blood and vomit. He stole McNee's car and made up a rap song about the killing, which he sung to friends. The jury decided the killing was not intentional, and convicted Edwards of manslaughter, not murder.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Sunday, 19th September 2004 - 12:00pm

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