A coroner has found an Australian tourist murdered while on holiday visiting his fiancee died of shotgun wounds to his head and torso.
While Sean McKinnon's cause of death was revealed after his killer, Mark Garson, pleaded guilty to his murder last year, Coroner Donna Llewell was unable to release her official findings until after the criminal proceedings were completed in the High Court at Hamilton.
She expressed her apologies to the family for the delay in her findings dated March 29 and now hopes they can finally get some closure over his death.
Garson was sentenced to 15 years and six months' prison by Justice Christine Gordon on December 9 last year.
McKinnon's sisters, Emmeline and Mary, travelled back across the ditch to see their brother's murderer for the last time before he was locked up.
McKinnon and his fiancee Bianca Buckley were sleeping in their campervan in the carpark at Te Toto Gorge, near Raglan, when Garson began frantically knocking on their window in the early hours of the morning.
Garson had earlier bought a gun and driven out to the idyllic spot with a friend, where they smoked cannabis and methamphetamine in the hope that his friend would end his life.
His friend refused and ended up driving back to Hamilton, leaving Garson behind with the gun.
Awoken by the knocking, McKinnon spoke to Garson through an open window and offered him his cellphone.
Garson became aggressive, demanded the campervan keys and while McKinnon was looking for them, he fired a shot that hit McKinnon in the mid-abdomen.
Despite being in pain, McKinnon stood to protect Buckley when a second and fatal shot was fired, hitting him in the head.
Buckley then pleaded for mercy, holding her hands up and asking for one chance to kiss McKinnon goodbye. He responded with "Yeah bitch, he's dead," she told the court at his sentencing.
Garson drove off with the campervan - and McKinnon's body inside - while Buckley ran 2.6km along a gravel road to the nearest home for help.
In her findings, Coroner Llewell apologised for the delay but said it was inevitable with the criminal proceedings ran in court, as they took priority.
She confirmed no alcohol or drugs were detected; just caffeine and cotinine - a metabolite of nicotine, and theobromine - from food and nicotine, in McKinnon's blood.
She also acknowledged the fear Buckley was feeling that fateful night.
"I must acknowledge but also cannot imagine Bianca's fear for her life, the trauma of witnessing her fiance shot and killed, and her courage and determination to get help that fateful night.
"I extend to Bianca and Sean's family my sincerest condolences for their loss of a vibrant man in tragic and senseless circumstances."
The coroner also touched on Garson's "troubled background" from reports prepared for the High Court: how Garson was brought up in a "dysfunctional family with an abusive and absent father", as well as his 21 previous convictions and how he was at high risk of harm to others.
Expert evidence was also given on how Garson's methamphetamine-induced psychosis "was a key driver" that night.
She hoped her findings would help bring some closure for both McKinnon's family and Buckley.
In her findings she wrote that she decided not to hold an open inquiry as all matters were dealt with in the criminal proceedings and that he died due to the gunshot wounds.