What’s a life worth? Not as much as we thought

I’ve been quietly stewing for the past few hours about the news that convicted rapist and murder Liam Reid has had his sentence reduced on appeal. 

Reid is the loser who raped and murdered deaf Christchurch teenager Emma Agnew, then just nine days later raped a student in Dunedin. 

He has the sort of disgusting criminal history you would expect of someone capable of those crimes. He’d also been on trial before for abducting a woman, sexually violating her, and attempting to murder her. He was acquitted of those charges in October 2002 but was convicted of fraudulently using the victim’s bank card while he was on the run, when he knew she had gone to the police. 

Back then he used a different name: Julian Heath Edgecombe. That was the name he had when he was my neighbour. I knew then that he wasn’t one of the gene pool’s success stories but never dreamed he would go on to commit such awful crimes. 

When he was convicted of the rape-murder of Emma Agnew and the rape-attempted murder of his Dunedin victim he was sentenced to preventive detention with a minimum non-parole period of 26 years. 

That seemed almost fair. Life with no possibility of parole would have been better but this was the next best thing. 

Now, while the preventive detention part of the sentence has been retained, the minimum parole period of 26 years for the murder conviction has been cut to 23 years and the 26-year sentence for the two rape convictions to 10 years for each charge. 

Why? Because the appeal court said in comparison with other murder cases where long non-parole sentences had been imposed 26 years was too long. 

Really? This low-life bowed and waved to the everyone in the courtroom when he was sentenced, he claimed his goal in life was to be a serial killer and rapist, he had 61 previous convictions for threats, assaults and two aggravated robberies. 

Okay, so with the preventive detention there’s a chance he might never get out of jail anyway but I’d rather have certainty. 

Twenty-six years isn’t too long. It’s not long enough. 


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