'Monster' killer's jail sentence no comfort

A man who murdered former Wellington woman Jeanette O'Keefe has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Photo / supplied
A man who murdered former Wellington woman Jeanette O'Keefe has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Photo / supplied

The father of a former Wellington woman murdered in France says the 30-year jail term handed down to his daughter's killer is little comfort, and still wishes she had stayed in New Zealand.

Jeanette O'Keefe, a 28-year-old originally from Melbourne, was found dead, wrapped in a sleeping bag in a crime-ridden neighbourhood near Paris on January 2, 2001.

In a court at Versailles on Friday, Brazilian-born Adriano Araujo Da Silva, 36 was found guilty of Ms O'Keefe's murder, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with a minimum sentence of 20 years.

The court was told that Da Silva bashed Ms O'Keefe in the head, before strangling her. He wrapped her body in the sleeping bag, dumped it out his window, then dragged it to a nearby carpark.

Ms O'Keefe's father, Kevin O'Keefe, said Da Silva's sentence offered no closure, with the possibility of an appeal leaving things up in the air.

"Nothing brings tears to my eyes but this does, the grief. The knowledge of this poor defenceless little woman, and this great big monster murdering her,'' Mr O'Keefe told APNZ from his home in Melbourne this morning.

"He bashed her 13 times with an iron bar, and then he strangled her, had two gos at it, first with his hands then with an electric cord.''

Ms O'Keefe had lived in Wellington before moving to Paris to study French two months before she was killed, and had planned to return to New Zealand.

"She was living in New Zealand and working in New Zealand as a computer programmer, and she had a wonderful time there,'' Mr O'Keefe said.

"I wish she would have stayed. New Zealand is a beautiful place with beautiful people, but she had to spread her wings.''

Despite more than 10 years passing since his daughter was killed, Mr O'Keefe said the grief never went away.

"What you learn to do, as with any other pain, is you can't get rid of it - you learn to live with it, but it doesn't lessen,'' he said.

"I've heard people say that they have a life sentence, I understand that now.''

Da Silva was charged with murder after he was arrested on another charge eight years after Ms O'Keefe's death when his DNA was found to match that found under her fingernails.

He twice confessed to killing Ms O'Keefe but later retracted his confession, pleading not guilty ahead of his trial last week. He has admitted taking Ms O'Keefe to his home, where they got into an argument, but denied killing her.

Ms O'Keefe had been due to leave France on the day her body was found, but had been worried about where she would stay for her last two nights in France.

A lawyer acting for the family, Caty Richard, said Ms O'Keefe handed back her keys to her hostel on New Year's Eve and planned to meet a French friend, who was an hour late.

"She called an Australian friend, but he was also an hour late, so she set off on a suburban train to head to her French friend's house, and met this young man, who must have sensed her vulnerability.''

Her body was found at the Quartier des Musiciens housing estate _ an area west of Paris notorious for teenage gang activity.

- APNZ

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