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Man sentenced for brutal South Pacific murder

  • Story Highlights
  • NZ chef given at least 18 years for 2002 murder of a woman on Norfolk Island
  • Glenn McNeill, 29, ran over and then repeatedly stabbed Janelle Patton
  • McNeill said he accidentally hit Patton with his car after smoking cannabis
  • McNiell said he stabbed Patton several times to make sure she was dead
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CANBERRA, Australia (Reuters) -- A New Zealand chef was sentenced to at least 18 years in jail on Wednesday for the brutal 2002 murder of a woman on Norfolk Island, ending the tiny island's first murder case in 150 years.

Glenn McNeill, right, is led from the cells to the courtroom in the 175-year-old former military barracks in Kingston.

Glenn McNeill, 29, was sentenced to a maximum of 24 years in jail for the murder of Janelle Patton, who he had run over and then repeatedly stabbed.

The brutality of Patton's murder shocked residents in the close-knit Norfolk community, many of them descendants of 18th-century mutineers from the British warship Bounty.

"Your crime has shocked the small community of Norfolk Island. It has sickened the people of Australia. It demands severe punishment," Norfolk Island's Chief Justice Mark Weinberg said as he handed down his sentence on Wednesday.

Weinberg, in a sentence handed down in a Sydney courthouse and broadcast live to Norfolk Island's court, said McNeill may be eligible for release after a minimum 18 years in prison.

Patton, 29, suffered 64 separate injuries including a fractured skull and numerous stab wounds in the attack in 2002.

At one stage, police planned to test the DNA of everyone on the tiny self-governing Australian territory, once a harsh South Pacific penal colony, which lies about 1,600 km (1,000 miles) east of tropical Queensland state.

During the trial, prosecutor Dan Howard said McNeill had told police he accidentally hit Patton with his car after smoking cannabis. He had told police he panicked and put Patton in his car boot and drove home.

But when he heard Patton moaning, McNiell told police he stabbed her several times with a fish knife to make sure she was dead. He then wrapped her body in plastic, drove past the island police station, and dumped her body at a nature reserve.

McNeill will serve his sentence in a jail in Australia. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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