A woman who barely survived being raped and strangled by Liam James Reid has had an emotional meeting with the family of the victim who died at Reid's hands.
The former Dunedin student met the family of slain deaf woman Emma Agnew in a "very, very positive experience" before Reid was yesterday found guilty of raping and killing Miss Agnew, 20 and raping and attempting to kill the student, 21, nine days later.
"I think it was wonderful for Louise, Emma's mother, to actually see someone like her daughter, who survived," said Detective Senior Sergeant Steve McGregor.
The verdicts delivered in the High Court today, after a gruelling four-week trial, were met with gasps of relief, tears and bursts of anger towards Reid from many in the deaf community who had gathered.
Reid, 36, who argued he had been framed, showed little emotion as the verdicts were read and Justice Lester Chisholm handed him an automatic life sentence. The prosecution will seek an open-ended sentence of preventive detention in December.
Miss Agnew's body was found naked in bush north of Christchurch last November, 11 days after she went missing. A sock had been stuffed down her throat.
The Dunedin victim was attacked by Reid as she walked home, repeatedly raped and forced to fight for her life as he strangled her.
Reid's own testimony at the trial showed him to be a user and dealer of drugs who indulged in violent sexual practices.
It can now be revealed that Reid was acquitted in 2002 of abducting, raping and attempting to kill a woman by hanging her with a phone cable. Reid said the acts were consensual.
During stints in prison for crimes he was convicted of, Reid also sued the Crown unsuccessfully for $40,000 compensation after being "cuffed" around the head by a prison guard he made a racial slur against.
The meeting between Reid's Dunedin victim, her mother, and Miss Agnew's family, a couple of days ago, was important to both families, Mr McGregor said.
"(The Dunedin victim) wanted to share with Emma's mother Louise, and father, that she understood the grief they must be feeling."
"(The Dunedin victim's) mother was particularly mindful of that given what has happened to her daughter."
The former student had good days and bad days, but was "determined not to be a victim from this point on".
Outside court, Miss Agnew's family spoke of their relief at the guilty verdicts.
"We miss Emma so much," said her father, Henry.
"We are a very close family. So we will just keep going."
Miss Agnew's brother Toby said: "We just feel like it's just not fair. We can't bring our sister back to life. And it's changed our life forever. Killing someone is just not natural".
Reid's lawyer, David Bunce, said his client had handled the verdicts well. It was too early to speculate on an appeal.
Asked if having Reid testify in his own defence was a mistake, Mr Bunce said: "Well, no. Obviously I don't, otherwise I would not have done that".
Reid, formerly known as Julian Heath Edgecombe, is no stranger to prison.
In 2002, Edgecombe was jailed for two years and three months after bashing two fellow inmates with a broom handle at Christchurch Men's Prison.
He was acquitted of a separate attack where he was accused of throwing boiling water on an inmate.
While serving a jail sentence, which included a six-month term for death threats, Reid was assaulted by prison guard Warren Aranga, after calling him a f***** black c***, and threatening to kill another officer.
Mr Aranga subsequently lost his job, and Edgecombe then became the first to make a claim for compensation under the new Prisoners and Victims Claims Act. Edgecombe sued the Attorney General for $40,000 but his claim was rejected in the Christchurch District Court.
Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald, who led the inquiry into Reid, said he was happy with the verdicts, but "certainly it was expected".
It had been achieved after a "huge team effort" over 12 months, spanning two cities.
Reid's claim during the trial that he had been framed for the crimes was "not worthy of a response".