A resentful and bitter man who murdered his ex-wife as she cradled their toddler during the brutal but calculated attack has been jailed for life.

Rotorua farm worker Ephraim Joseph Beazley, 33, last month admitted to murdering his ex-wife Xi Wang at her Flat Bush home.

Wang, 34, was holding the estranged couple's 2-year-old son in her arms when Beazley stabbed her to death on December 10.

He appeared in the High Court at Auckland today and was jailed for life by Justice Simon Moore.

In the public gallery was Wang's mother and best friend who had travelled from China for the hearing.

Wang's parents said in a statement their only hope was for their grandson to be raised as "a person his mother, our daughter would like him to be - an honest and loving person".

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Beazley, whom Justice Moore said showed "little to no remorse", must serve 17 years of that sentence before he is eligible for parole.

He had been estranged from Wang after the pair met in November 2014 and married six months later.

The couple moved to Rotorua, where Beazley worked as a farm hand, but the relationship only lasted until September 2015 and Wang moved to Auckland.

Soon after Wang discovered she was pregnant and gave birth to a son.

But Beazley began to harbour an increasing resentment towards Wang, partly because he had to pay child support.

He contemplated taking his own life but decided against it.

The Herald obtained court documents which revealed what happened next.

Beazley left his home on a Rotorua farm and drove to Manukau on December 10 last year, notified of Wang's location after he logged on to her iPad.

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He took with him a weapon - a recently sharpened Norwegian hunting knife.

Beazley arrived at his ex-wife's home just before 10pm and parked outside.

He walked up to the house, shrouded in darkness, and knocked on the door several times.

Wang opened the door, holding her young son in her arms.

Xi Wang, 34, died after her ex-husband stabbed her repeatedly. She was holding her 2-year-old son when she was attacked. Photo / Supplied
Xi Wang, 34, died after her ex-husband stabbed her repeatedly. She was holding her 2-year-old son when she was attacked. Photo / Supplied

Beazley was wearing a cap which was pulled down over his face and had his head bowed, which he believed would make it difficult for his former partner to identify him.

"[Beazley] attacked the victim without speaking, striking at her throat with his hunting knife," the police summary reads.

"She managed to block the strike so he stabbed her in the side instead.

"This was awkward for him because of the dressing gown the victim was wearing - so he attacked her legs."

Beazley then stabbed Wang several times in both legs.

He also stabbed her genitals, causing her to slump forward, and allowing Beazley to grab her by the back of the head.

"He stabbed her several times in the neck, causing her to fall to the ground," the summary reads.

Beazley realised he had done enough to kill and left his son in his dying mum's arms.

Justice Moore said it was "simply a stroke of good luck" that Wang's son was not injured in the attack, which lasted between 30 seconds to a minute.

Beazley would then flee, driving away in his car.

But he abandoned his vehicle in a nearby street and made his way to Botany Town Centre.

Xi Wang died at her Flat Bush home on December 10. Photo / Supplied
Xi Wang died at her Flat Bush home on December 10. Photo / Supplied

There, he called police and told them what he had done and where he was.

He also called a friend and told them of the horrific attack before police located and arrested Beazley soon after.

The hunting knife he used to slaughter Wang was in his jacket pocket.

Wang, meanwhile, was rushed to hospital in a critical condition and underwent emergency surgery.

But her wounds were too severe and she died at 11.55pm.

A post-mortem found Wang had been stabbed 18 times.

Beazley would later offer an explanation to police for his violent attack.

"[He] stated that he had enough of life in general and particularly the state of his relationship with the victim," the police summary said.

"He stated that he had decided that the best option was to kill her, so planned how he was going to do that.

"He decided what clothes he was going to wear and selected his knife before travelling to Auckland."

Ephraim Beazley was sentenced to life imprisonment today. Photo / Michael Craig
Ephraim Beazley was sentenced to life imprisonment today. Photo / Michael Craig

Outside court after Beazley was told he will spend his life behind bars, a statement from Wang's parents was read to members of the press.

"We have lost our daughter," they said.

"My only hope is for my grandson - to see him grow up happily and healthy would be the main factor sustaining the rest of my life.

"We will try our best to make him a person his mother, our daughter would like him to be - an honest and loving person."

Wang's parents also thanked police, Oranga Tamariki, Victim Support and ACC for their support.

"We speak no English and have no relatives in New Zealand, but they made us feel so welcome, they have shown their great love and care to our family, which I have never experienced such love elsewhere."

After Beazley first appeared in the High Court in January one of Wang's friends also spoke out, paying tribute to the slain mum.

She said Wang was born and raised in China and was travelling and studying around the world when she journeyed to New Zealand.

Here, she met Beazley and decided to make her home in Aotearoa.

She never could have imagined that the man she loved would end up taking her life.

"Her life was her child, she did absolutely everything - made every decision - for him," said Wang's friend.

"She lived and breathed for her little boy.

"He absolutely adored her and he still asks for her."

Acting Detective Inspector Shaun Vickers, of Counties Manukau CIB, said the case was a tragic reminder of the devastating impact family harm has on whanau.

"A young boy has lost his mother and his father will be spending some time in prison," he said.

"I would like to extend our sympathies to Xi's family who have lost a much-loved daughter. It is something that no parent should have to go through."

DO YOU NEED HELP?

If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz