German backpacker's killer guilty in New Zealand

2nd August 2007, Comments 0 comments

2 August 2007, WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ A New Zealand drifter was found guilty Thursday of the murder of a German backpacker who was beaten and stabbed in a scenic North Island reserve in 2005.

2 August 2007

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ A New Zealand drifter was found guilty Thursday of the murder of a German backpacker who was beaten and stabbed in a scenic North Island reserve in 2005.

A High Court jury returned a guilty verdict against Michael Scott Wallace, 46, in the death of Birgit Brauer, 28, after deliberating 4-1/2 hours.

Prosecutor Tim Brewer said outside the court that the Crown may seek a sentence of preventive, or indefinite, detention, when Wallace is sentenced on Sept. 27, as he had a prior conviction for abducting and raping a young woman.

Murder in New Zealand attracts a minimum life sentence _ at least 10 years in prison.

Defense attorney Susan Hughes QC, also outside the courtroom, said Wallace was shattered by the verdict.

The jury heard that Wallace murdered Brauer after he picked her up as she was hitchhiking south of the coastal city of New Plymouth.

Her battered body was found in Lucy's Gully, a scenic spot 14 kilometers (9 miles) south of the city on Sept. 20, 2005. She had been beaten in the head with a metal bar and stabbed once through the heart.

Prosecutors said Wallace had stolen his employer's vehicle and was traveling around the country taking drugs. They said he had a sexual motive when he drove Brauer to Lucy's Gully where he then attacked and killed her.

Wallace denied the murder charge and defense lawyers said police had the wrong man.

Prosecutors had based their case on DNA and fingerprint evidence.

AP

Subject: German news

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