Anxious wait for murder verdict

Parent Kevin and Susan O'Keefe are too ill to attend the murder trial in Paris. Photo / Supplied
Parent Kevin and Susan O'Keefe are too ill to attend the murder trial in Paris. Photo / Supplied

The father of a former Wellington woman whose strangled body was found dumped in Paris 11 years ago says a guilty verdict for her accused killer would help towards closure.

But Kevin O'Keefe says it won't bring back his daughter Jeanette.

Ms O'Keefe's body was found in a sleeping bag in a car park on the outskirts of Paris on January 2, 2001 - the day she planned to return to New Zealand via New York, and three days after a series of circumstances left her without anywhere to stay.

Originally from Melbourne, the 28-year-old computer programmer had lived and worked in Wellington before moving to Paris to study French in the two months before she was killed.

Brazilian-born Adriano Araujo Da Silva, standing trial in Versailles, has pleaded not guilty to her murder. He was arrested three years ago after his DNA was found to match that found under Ms O'Keefe's fingernails.

Da Silva said he took Ms O'Keefe home where they got into an argument, before he handed her a sleeping bag and sent her on her way.

A lawyer acting for the family, Caty Richard, said Da Silva had sensed Ms O'Keefe's vulnerability after she was unable to meet up with two friends.

Her three siblings are in France for the trial, but her Melbourne father and mother felt too ill to attend, the Age newspaper reported.

Mr O'Keefe said he would not be able to handle seeing the explicit photographs and exhibits likely to be presented as evidence.

"The worst stress of all is grief."

A verdict in the trial is expected this week. "I feel stressed and anxious and just hope all the truth comes out."

Mr O'Keefe said a guilty verdict and lengthy jail period would bring some closure, but would not bring his daughter back. "Without Jeanette it can never be over."

Ms O'Keefe's mother, Susan, told the Herald in 2001 her daughter had liked New Zealand because it was easy to find work and she enjoyed tramping and climbing. She had worked for Air New Zealand, Work & Income and Housing New Zealand.

- APNZ

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