The family of murdered Te Atatu woman Cunxiu Tian have thanked the community for supporting them and say they could not have made it through the ordeal otherwise.
And police have paid tribute to the dead woman and their staff who investigated her death and were deeply affected by the case.
Tian, 69, died in her Te Atatu home after Jaden Lee Stroobant brutally beat her and stomped on her head in January last year.
As she lay dying, unable to defend herself and unresponsive, Stroobant sexually violated her twice.
He was today sentenced to preventive detention and life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years for his "callous and depraved" crimes.
Te Atatu murderer Jaden Lee Stroobant stomped on victim Cunxiu Tian's head before violating her
Jaden Lee Stroobant admits murder of Cunxiu Tian in her Te Atatu home
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Shortly after the sentence was handed down, police spoke about Tian and passed on the thanks of her daughter and son-in-law.
"Christina and Jerry would like you all to know that they are grateful for the sentence handed out today and are satisfied that justice has been served," Detective Constable Sarah Cato said on behalf of the family.
"They are appreciattive of the amazing work and support provided them by the police, Crown, community groups, the church and their friends.
"They could not have got through this terrible time without it."
Cato said the numerous flowers and cards had "warmed their hearts and encouraged them to move forward".
"They are content that their mum will now be resting in peace," she said.
The family did not want to speak publicly or to the Herald about their ordeal.
Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small, who led the investigation into Tian's death, said outside court that Stroobant's sentence "marks the end of one of the most appalling cases many of our staff have ever worked on".
"As the court heard, the horrific detail of what Madame Tian suffered in the final minutes of her life is simply atrocious," he said.
"A small, defenceless elderly woman was subjected to an attack that is difficult to comprehend.
"Many of our officers, some who have been in the police for a long time, were shocked, appalled and upset by the extreme violence suffered by Madame Tian."
Small said it was a testament to the officers' "professionalism, focus, and steely determination to find the person responsible and bring him to justice" that led to today's sentence.
He had nothing to say about Stroobant, but noted the sentence handed down.
"I am not going to discuss the offender, and he does not warrant our thought," he said.
"Today is about Madame Tian and her family.
"We would like to acknowledge their ongoing grief and to thank them for the faith they have showed in police throughout the entire investigation.
"I know that the public will share our admiration for Madame Tian's family.
"They have, and continue to experience a situation that many of us find hard to even think about, and they have done this with grace and dignity."
Small also thanked the Te Atatu community "for their trust and confidence during the investigation".
"Their cooperation and assistance as we carried out our enquiries was paramount in helping solve this case as were the Waitakere business community," he said.
"I would also like to thank each and every person in New Zealand Police, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research and the Crown prosecutors who worked on this case, from the scene guards to the core investigation team.
"Some of our detectives have stayed on this case for months after the arrest to prepare this case for court.
"Today is the culmination of thousands of hours of work.
"Everyone who worked on this case did so with one person at the front of their mind - Madame Tian: an elderly lady who was simply doing the garden in her home on a summer's morning."