A man who stabbed his wife to death and then turned the knife on those who tried to save her planned the killing six weeks earlier, a judge has ruled.
In December, Brent Donovan Scott, 46, pleaded guilty to the murder of Heidi Welman-Scott, 41, and attempted murder of Taryn Leigh Welman and her boyfriend, Matija Miletic, both 23, in the North Shore suburb of Albany on November 27, 2014.
Justice Mary Peters in the High Court at Auckland today jailed him for life, with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years, and called the case "exceptional" in terms of the deliberate way the defendant went about the cold-blooded killing.
She said it was the result of "calculated and lengthy planning".
Scott's lawyer Marie Dyhrberg, QC, accepted her client's actions were premeditated, after he bought knives to commit the crimes four days earlier but Justice Peters said it was worse than that.
"I think you planned it over six weeks, not four days," she said, pointing to the fact the defendant booked a flight back to South Africa in mid-October.
The court heard how Scott waited for his wife to drop off their teenage son, Keagan, at school before striking.
The South African-born man drove a hired truck to the family home, which he had left more than a year earlier because of problems in his marital relationship.
He parked 100m up the road, walked to the property and hid behind a water tank, watching Mrs Welman-Scott return from her night shift as a nurse.
Scott lay in wait as she took the teen to a nearby high school and when she returned, snuck under the garage door as it was closing.
Four days earlier, the defendant had bought two knives, one of which was a 20cm serrated diving blade.
He launched his attack on Mrs Welman-Scott and her screams woke Ms Welman and Mr Miletic.
As the victim tried to escape through an adjoining door, the pair attempted to help and Scott turned the knife on them.
His step-daughter was stabbed twice in the torso and her boyfriend received life-threatening internal bleeding from an abdomen wound.
They called emergency services as Mrs Welman-Scott had collapsed outside the house.
Despite the efforts of members of the public, she died there.
Meanwhile, three minutes after he had first slipped into the garage, Scott walked back up the road and took the truck back to the hire company.
His friend picked him up from there and dropped him at the airport where he waited for a flight to South Africa that he had booked six weeks earlier.
But he was detained before he could board the plane.
Ms Welman, who was now the legal guardian of her teenage brother, had to have her gall bladder removed because of the two stab wounds she sustained.
"I'm reminded every day by my horrible scars," she told the court.
The psychological trauma had also left her permanently damaged, as was the case with her boyfriend Mr Miletic, who suffered flashbacks in the weeks following the attack.
"I can't put into words what it's like seeing the person you love bleeding to death on a footpath," he said.
Since then he was "always on edge, always looking out for danger, expecting an attack".
Scott wrote a letter to the court describing his sorrow but Justice Peters gave it little weight.
"Those [words] count for nothing because your actions on the day were deliberate."
Outside court Detective Inspector Kevin Hooper paid tribute to the "stoic" family of the victim, whose emotions were too raw for them to address media.
He said the case highlighted the issue of family violence and urged any victims to come forward and report abuse to police.
Timeline of wicked act
Taryn Welman and her uncle Ashley Welman approach police with concerns Scott has a firearms licence. It is subsequently revoked.
February 2014: Heidi Welman-Scott obtains a temporary protection order against her estranged partner which required him to stay away from the house.
May 2014: The protection order is discharged
July 2014: Police safety order obtained by the victim
October 31, 2014: Scott pays for flights to South Africa for November 27 (the day he kills his wife).
November 20: He picks up the tickets.
November 23: The 46-year-old buys two knives, one of which is a 20cm serrated diving knife.
November 24: He hires a truck.
November 25: Scott sells his car and tells the buyer he is planning to go back to South Africa.
November 27: He stabs his wife to death and attempts to murder his step-daughter and her boyfriend.