A Christchurch mother depressed and boozing on Christmas Day because she couldn't be with her young daughter ended up arguing with her partner and stabbing him to death, a court heard today.
Franchesca Kororia Borell was jailed for at least 10 years today after being found guilty of murdering 26-year-old Hardeep Singh at a Cashmere Rd property in Christchurch on December 25, 2016.
Borell, 24, had denied intentionally killing Singh but admitted manslaughter during her trial at the High Court in Christchurch, claiming she had thrown the knife at Singh, but did not mean to kill him.
However, a jury in October sided with the Crown's evidence that Singh died from a single stab wound to the heart rather than from injuries of a thrown knife, and that Borell's actions amounted to murder.
Today, Singh's family told how they are suffering a "life sentence of loss" and spoke of a much-loved son and family member.
Singh had worked and studied hard in India before coming to New Zealand to further his studies, the court heard.
He wanted to get a job and earn money to support his parents long-term, who were unable to work back in India.
They now struggle on a daily basis with loss, they said in a victim impact statement, and after their son died felt helpless being so far away.
Singh and Borell had been in a relationship for several months and were living at a Cashmere house where he had been house-sitting for a friend.
The pair had argued throughout the day and Borell threatened to leave him.
When he tried to block her from leaving the house, she became very angry, the court heard.
She went to the kitchen and took out a large knife.
Later, she would tell police she threw the knife at Singh.
But Justice Cameron Mander agreed with police and the jury, and considered that unlikely.
He sentenced her on the basis that it was a single blow that penetrated his heart and caused significant internal bleeding.
Borell, who has no prior convictions, phoned emergency services in an extremely distressed state.
Singh died in hospital two days later.
Defence counsel Phil Shamy said a remorseful Borell apologises to the Singh family for what was a "significant and unfortunately lethal error that she will pay for, for the rest of her life".
Borell's problems with drugs, alcohol, and anger management stemmed from early childhood experiences, which Shamy said was not rare for people appearing in High Court.
Justice Mander sentenced her to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of ten years.
He told Borell in the dock that she was capable of leading a full and constructive life.
However, he stressed the importance of taking part in programmes behind bars to address her drug and alcohol issues, otherwise it would be likely she will spend much longer than 10 years in jail.
Detective Sergeant Andrew Owens earlier welcomed the verdict, and said he hoped it would give Singh's family some closure.
Some of his family travelled from India to be in court but his parents were unable to make it.
"We hope this result provides some closure to them. However, we know it does nothing to replace the loss of their son, brother and friend," Owens said.
"Our thoughts are also with the whānau of Borell as this has also impacted significantly on them."