A 23-year-old student who beat his young girlfriend to death in Palmerston North has been sentenced to eight years in prison for manslaughter.

He's also been given two years concurrently for grievous bodily harm.

Jesse Ferris-Bromley was sentenced at the High Court at Wellington this morning.

Twenty-year-old Virginia Ford was killed at an apartment near Massey University last March.

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Ferris-Bromley was originally charged with murder.

Justice Clifford says the violence he inflicted was particularly sinister and would have caused Ms Ford severe pain.