Judge throws the book at ‘Black Widow’

The only suntan Helen Elizabeth Milner will be getting for the next few years, will be a striped one… from behind bars (as the old saying goes).

There was never any doubt that she would be in for a long jail sentence, the debate was just over ‘how long’?

The defence in their submission before sentencing was pronounced, had asked for a minimum non-parole period of just 10 years, with a small uplift by his honour to take into account any aggravating factors. The prosecution pointed out the premeditation and planning that had taken place before the murder, and the attempts to cover it up as a suicide afterwards, and they requested a minimum non-parole period of 18 years.

Justice David Gendall today pronounced sentence for the woman dubbed “the Black Widow”. A life sentence is mandatory and parole is not necessarily granted at the earliest opportunity… if ever. The judge declared that in this case, Ms Milner must spend a minimum of 17 years in jail, before the possibility of parole. She was given a first warning under the ‘three strikes’ law. (If she kills any more people, she’ll get in really BIG trouble !). A six year sentence for attempted murder will be served concurrently.

She was found guilty in December 2013 of murdering her husband Philip James Nisbet, 47, by drugging him with Phenergan and probably smothering him while he was unconscious.

At stake was a life insurance payout of some $250,000. Other members of the family are thought to be considering a case to claim a share of that insurance money for themselves. (I guess they might as well, Helen won’t be ducking down the mall on a shopping spree anytime soon).

Since the guilty verdict was released in late December, it has been revealed that Helen Milner was already in jail serving more than two years for perverting the course of justice. She had deliberately “set up” one of her own sons for a crime he didn’t commit. It has also come to light that she had been cut out of her mother’s will in 2006. Anne Milner believes her daughter is either mentally ill, or evil. Helen had been a theiving little toe-rag in her school days, and it seems she’s been making the same choices all her adult life.

Helen Milner has been before the courts before, for stealing from employers in the past.

(It’s a sad and sorry tale for New Zealand policing to think that she so very nearly got away with killing her husband. The crudely staged suicide attempt shouldn’t have fooled anyone). Earlier it was reported that the first two police officers on the scene, did not believe it was a suicide and told their superiors as much.

But it took a direction from the coroner and two years of pressure from Philip Nisbet’s sister, Lee-Anne Cartier (who lives in Australia) to get the police to do a more thorough investigation.

After Detective Inspector Greg Murton came on the scene, things started happening as they should have right from the beginning. After the guilty verdict was delivered in December 2013, Andrew Nisbet made a point of thanking the police (including D.I. Murton) for all their hard work.

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