Black Widow case: Conviction appealed

Helen Milner sits in court in Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo / Martin Hunter
Helen Milner sits in court in Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo / Martin Hunter

The woman dubbed the "Black Widow" after the murder of her husband is this morning in the Court of Appeal seeking to have her conviction overturned.

Helen Milner was earlier this year sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years for the 2009 murder of her husband Phil Nisbet.

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Milner's two sons, and the two sons of murder victim Phil Nisbet, will also be at the Court of Appeal in Wellington today.

"I wish she would just crawl back into her cell and drop dead already. My feelings towards her will never change," youngest son Adam, 23, said.

He and older brother Greg, 25, both gave key testimony against her during the high-profile trial at Christchurch High Court. They will be joined today by Mr Nisbet's two sons, Zak Bell, 20, and Ben Porter, 19, who also gave evidence which helped convict her.

When approached by APNZ, Milner's current boyfriend Barry Hayton said: "I'm not saying anything to you a*******s, you've crucified her enough already."

APNZ understands Milner's defence counsel Rupert Glover will raise scientific issues over how Mr Nisbet, a 47-year-old delivery driver, died in a case that police originally ruled as a suicide.

During the trial, her defence argued that he had taken his own life by swallowing up to 50 Phenergan antihistamine and sedative tablets.

The Crown successfully proved that Milner, 50, poisoned her second husband's food before suffocating him with a pillow. She then faked his death to look like suicide, motivated by a $250,000 life insurance payout.

Mr Nisbet's sister Lee-Anne Cartier, who was praised by police for her detective work in bringing Milner to justice, said it was important that all of the family turned up at court today.

"She needs to know that we're not going anywhere and that we'll do everything to ensure she stays where she belongs and dies in jail," said Ms Cartier, who travelled from Australia for the hearing.

Helen Milner (C) sits in court in Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo / Martin Hunter
Helen Milner (C) sits in court in Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo / Martin Hunter

- APNZ

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