Ex-boyfriend jailed for six years for killing Bolton mum in New Zealand
AN ex-boyfriend of missing former Bolton mum Sara Niethe has been jailed for six years and seven months in New Zealand after admitting killing her.
Ms Niethe, who emigrated to New Zealand from Bolton in 1975, disappeared 10 years ago and her body has never been found.
Yesterday, at the High Court in Hamilton, New Zealand, 51-year-old Mark Pakenham was sentenced for the manslaughter of the mother-of-three on March 30, 2003.
Pakenham had claimed she went missing after leaving his house in her car following a row and, at the time, even told the media he prayed for her safe return.
But he was arrested in August 2011 when police reopened the case into her disappearance after hearing recordings made of him admitting to a friend that he had given her a “shot of meth” which she reacted badly to and died.
The court heard that, on the day 30-year-old Ms Niethe died, the pair had been drinking bourbon, smoking cannabis and had had sex before Pakenham injected her with methamphetamine.
Justice Timothy Brewers condemned Pakenham’s decision not to get help for his girlfriend and said it would never be known whether her life could have been saved.
Pakenham hid the body and never revealed where it was, claiming to have lost his memory due to drugs and alcohol.
Justice Brewers said that, although he may have been in shock and under the influence of drugs when he disposed of the body, he was still able to compose himself enough to return her sunglasses, phone and cigarettes to her family the next day.
Ms Niethe’s son Dion Chamberlain, who was aged 12 when she died, read out a statement in court from himself and his two sisters saying that one of the hardest parts of their mother’s disappearance was having to spend 10 years not knowing whether she was dead or alive and having no grave to visit.
Pakenham was sentenced to five years and 10 months for the manslaughter and concealment of Ms Niethe’s body and a further nine months for assaulting two other women in 1990 and 1992.
After the hearing, friends of Ms Niethe said they believed Pakenham would not say where the body is because it might reveal she did not die of an overdose and that he murdered her
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