An eight-year prison sentence for the man who killed Virginia Ford won't be closure for the young student's family.

Jesse Stuart Ferris-Bromley, 22, was today sentenced in the High Court at Wellington, having earlier pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Ford on March 13 last year.

The 20-year-old Dunedin woman was studying computer science at Massey University when her partner, Ferris-Bromley, fatally assaulted her in their Palmerston North apartment.

Police said there was further evidence of a number of injuries on her body from previous assaults.


"Virginia obviously suffered significantly in the last few months of her life and the discovery of this has been a source of great pain for her family," said Detective Sergeant David Thompson, who led the investigation.

"While Ferris-Bromley's guilty plea and sentence has spared Virginia's family the trauma of reliving those final months during a trial, the tragedy and loss they have suffered cannot be overstated."

Her family have asked for privacy, but in a statement released through police, spoke of their pain.

"We have lost our beautiful daughter. No matter what the sentence is, it will never be enough for taking the life of our beloved Virginia or what was done to her in the weeks before she was killed," they said.

"We have to live with that. Nothing can bring her back."

The family thanked relatives and friends for their support and the Palmerston North police for their help.

"There will never be closure for us but we would like to be left alone so we can start to learn how to live our lives without Virginia."

Mr Thompson said the case was also an "extremely difficult" one for the investigation team.

Ms Ford was a young woman with her whole life ahead of her and had been excited about moving to Palmerston North to study, he said.

"Ferris-Bromley's actions betrayed the trust Virginia and her family placed in him in the worst way possible."