A man who beat his girlfriend to death is appealing what the Women's Refuge says is an already "extremely kind and generous" sentence.

Jesse John Ferris-Bromley was this year jailed for eight years for killing Virginia Ford in a tragic end to an abusive relationship.

Ferris-Bromley, 23, was ordered to serve at least four years behind bars for the attack at the pair's Palmerston North flat in March last year.

Originally charged with murder, Ferris-Bromley admitted a lesser charge of manslaughter.


He also pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to injure over attacks leading up Ms Ford's death.

Ms Ford was 20 when she died, having moved north from Dunedin to study science at Massey University.

The Court of Appeal this morning confirmed Ferris-Bromley had filed an appeal against his sentence.

Women's Refuge chief executive Ang Jury said the appeal exposed Ferris-Bromley's lack of remorse.

"We're surprised that he's appealing what appears to us to be already an extremely kind and generous sentence for the death of a young woman," Dr Jury said.

"He's only thinking about himself. He's not accepting responsibility for what he's done at all."

Ferris-Bromley's sentencing in the High Court at Wellington this year heard chilling details about his relationship with Ms Ford.

It was revealed Ferris-Bromley dominated her, writing lists about how she could improve herself. The lists included points such as "listen to Jesse" and "practice answering straight away but stop and don't keep blurting out other stuff".

Ms Ford became withdrawn from family and friends and in the weeks leading to the fatal beating, Ferris-Bromley broke her ribs in one attack.

On the day she died, after pulling her off a bed, throwing her to the floor and punching her, he didn't call for help straight away. Instead he waited until she'd stopped breathing before phoning an ambulance when prompt treatment could have saved her.

"Mr Ferris-Bromley, your offending against Ms Ford was particularly sinister," Justice Denis Clifford told Ferris-Bromley at his sentencing.

"You subjected her to very serious violence over what would appear to have been a period of at least a month prior to her death."

At the hearing, defence lawyer Roger Crowley said a maximum seven-year sentence was appropriate.