A farmer who masterminded an elaborate plot to kill his wife and her best friend wants to meet his wife's family to say sorry.

Mark Goodwin, now 49, and his former lover Jan Yorke, 53, pleaded guilty to the 1995 murder of Nicola (Nikki) Jane Goodwin and the attempted murder and kidnapping of Nikki Goodwin's best friend, Barbara Bishop. They were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1996.

Speaking publicly about the case for the first time, as the 22nd year anniversary nears, Goodwin told the Herald on Sunday: "It's not the brightest move I made but I live with what I did every day."

Tattoo of Rick Goodwin , on the body of Jesse Goodwin. Photo / Supplied
Tattoo of Rick Goodwin , on the body of Jesse Goodwin. Photo / Supplied

Goodwin wants to apologise to Nikki's family, but his parole conditions stop him from visiting Taranaki, where they live.


"I am obviously very sorry but I can't say that to them unless I have a restorative justice meeting, otherwise I am in the shit. I can't go back to Taranaki."

Nikki Goodwin's sister Kirsten Buijtendijk said no words from Mark Goodwin could ease her family's pain.

"An apology is not going to bring Nick back or change the fact Rick and Jess lost their mum. I lost my sister. My mum and dad lost their daughter As far as I am concerned he hasn't changed. He's always been selfish and greedy."

"The biggest thing for me is how can a parent do that to their children? To plot and plan the killing of your wife, the mum of your children - I am sorry but there are no sympathy votes. He took their mum away and then he took himself away- that disgusts me as a parent".

Nikki Goodwin was killed in 1995 by her husband Mark Goodwin. Photo / Supplied
Nikki Goodwin was killed in 1995 by her husband Mark Goodwin. Photo / Supplied

Goodwin met Yorke, who was working as an escort in New Plymouth, 23 years ago. He suspected his wife was having an affair and their marriage was on the rocks. After Nikki left the farm in Kaponga, about 55km due south of New Plymouth, Yorke moved in.

Buitendijk believed her brother-in-law was motivated by greed.

"He wanted the farm. He was worried about money, that's what it boiled down to. It was greed and Jan fuelled him" she said.

The pair plotted to kill Goodwin's wife. They forced their victims to take a cocktail of drugs before bashing Nikki Goodwin with a brick and dragging Bishop into the driver's seat of her car - then pushing it off a 25m clifftop at Opunake, 26km west of Kaponga.


The car was trapped on rocks, but a freak wave raised it, saving Bishop's life. Several hours later she was discovered by a fisherman.

After the couple admitted their guilt, Goodwin eventually told police his wife was buried in the remote Te Wera Forest, almost an hour's drive east of the Goodwin family farm.

Goodwin's father, Ian, said this week that he told his son to plead guilty.

"He knew what he had done was wrong. There was no sense pissing around."

Ian Goodwin said his son and Nikki were "two different people".

"She was a town girl and he was a country boy."

Goodwin's mother Betty believed her son couldn't get past his suspicions that his wife had been having an affair so sought comfort from Yorke.

"I think a man takes it very deep to the heart. I was so sad to lose Nikki, she was a lovely girl. In our wildest dreams we never thought anything like that could happen. I didn't think we brought Mark up like that but he was manipulated, [by Yorke]" she said.

Ian Goodwin wants no contact with Yorke, who was freed from prison last year after 21 years last year.

At the end of March she was recalled to prison for posing an undue risk to the safety of the community due to her ongoing contact with current and former prisoners, including a convicted killer. She was then released on parole last month.

"She was a call girl - that's how they met but things went downhill from there. Once she came into Mark's life everything changed, but there was nothing we could do about it.

"She is nothing to me and I don't want her back in our lives. But Mark could've put a stop to it whenever he wanted so I'm not defending him or her."

Ian Goodwin may have forgiven his son for killing the mother of his grandsons but can't forget the impact the ordeal had on his two grandsons Rick and Jesse. After their mother's death the brothers were bundled off to live with their aunty Kirsten Buijtendijk.

They stayed for six years but returned to the farm where their grandparents took their turn to care for them.

Now 25, Jesse Goodwin says he can't forgive his father for killing his mother.

"I don't think anyone could forgive that sort of thing but I try to be civil and get on with it. We had to grow up pretty quick - that kind of stuff does that to you."

Jesse Goodwin, a sharemilker, and his wife Nicole have two sons and are expecting their third child. Both are hoping for a girl. Jesse regrets his mother never got the chance to meet his two boys, who are roughly the same age he and Rick were when she died.

"My brother was a bit older than me - he remembered her more than I did. I don't think he ever got over her. I was sad for a long time and especially since she will never meet my boys. I think everyone has missed out."

Nicole Goodwin and Jesse Goodwin with sons Zachary 2 and James 4. Photo / Supplied
Nicole Goodwin and Jesse Goodwin with sons Zachary 2 and James 4. Photo / Supplied

Tragedy struck the Goodwin family again when Rick took his own life seven years ago.

Family members said in the months leading to his death Rick had become "depressed and distant".

"Not growing up with a mother or father was tough but the hardest [thing] was Rick's death," said Jesse.

"He was my best mate. We did pretty much everything together because we only had each other. He was a good brother who looked out for me."

Ian Goodwin said: " When Mark did what he did, he was a man. He could make up his own mind - Rick was just 21."

Betty Goodwin said: "I think Rick felt he didn't have anything to live for. He had lost his mother and he was having issues with the mother of his son. He was such a lovely boy who wanted to make a life for himself but it got too hard."

Rick and his mother now rest side by side at the Hawera cemetery.

Now 78, Ian Goodwin has been a dairy farmer in Opunake for nearly 60 years. He still works on the family farm and says he could use "an extra pair of hands".

"It was always my intention for Mark to come back and help me. The farm was pretty rugged when we first came here. But I know that's not going to happen.

"His parole conditions mean he can't come back here at all to see his grandchildren which is pretty sad."

Mark Goodwin, who works on a farm in the central North Island says everyday he lives with the "bad, stupid decisions" he made 20 years ago.

"I didn't sit in prison and twiddle my thumbs. I've done courses on violence prevention and anger management.

"But I need to say sorry to people affected. Some people think when shit happens you will always be that same person - so unless you have a chance to say where you are now everybody is stagnant aren't they?"

Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (Mon-Fri 1pm to 10pm. Sat-Sun 3pm-10pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Samaritans 0800 726 666
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.