Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a NZME. News Service journalist based in Auckland.

Slain nurse's brother relieved at guilty verdict

New Zealand nurse Michelle Beets was attacked in her home, her throat slit and she was stabbed eight times in her chest. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand nurse Michelle Beets was attacked in her home, her throat slit and she was stabbed eight times in her chest. Photo / Supplied

The brother of slain New Zealand nurse Michelle Beets says he relieved her killer has been found guilty.

Former US Marine Walter Marsh was today found guilty of murdering Ms Beets, his former boss.

He stabbed her to death and cut her throat on the verandah of her Sydney home in suburban Chatswood on April 27 last year.

A Sydney Supreme Court jury of eight men and four women this afternoon returned a unanimous verdict after deliberating since last Wednesday.

Ms Beets' brother, Aucklander Marty Beets, said he was full of ``relief and apprehension'' after learning of the verdict.

"It's a relief that we know, whereas there are many people in the world who never knows what happens to their loved ones.''

But he was also apprehensive because sentencing was still to come, and Marsh would either have to accept or appeal the verdict.

"It is a bit of a shock in a roundabout way because you're waiting and hoping that this will happen, but at the same time you're hoping that it doesn't, you know _ or shouldn't or didn't,'' he said.

"It's knowing that it's coming, but it's like wishing that it didn't come in as much as that it had never happened in the first place.''

Mr Beets said some good had come out of his sister's death, with a memorial trust fund set up in her name.

The fund aims to help and educate nurses working in the emergency department of the Royal North Shore Hospital, where Ms Beets' had worked.

"A good thing has unfortunately happened from Michelle's death,'' Mr Beets said.

"Some money was donated to Humpty Dumpty Foundation in Sydney, and from that they bought a machine which has already saved a 5-year-old boy's life.

"So in a roundabout way, it's unfortunate that Michelle had to die to save other people, though she saved other people every day.''

Mr Beets said he was yet to speak with his two sisters, who had been in court for the verdict with Ms Beets' partner David Grant.

"They'll have to get out and make sense of it. They may go out and go and get a drink, or they may have to go back to their hotel room _ they might be in shock a bit.''

Their father chose not to attend because it was too painful.

Mr Beets said he was hoping to go to Sydney for Marsh's sentencing later.

- APNZ

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