Kiwi jailed for murder in Canada
Former Napier city councillor Peter Beckett has been found guilty of the first-degree murder of his wife following a jury trial in Canada.
Castanet reported yesterday the 12-member jury found Beckett, now 60, guilty after four days of deliberation in what was the former New Zealand man’s second trial, with a previous jury unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Beckett was found guilty of drowning his wife, Laura LettsBeckett, on Upper Arrow Lake in August 2010 and was handed an automatic life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 25 years.
Former Napier mayor Barbara Arnott, who served as a councillor alongside Beckett from 1998 to 2001, said he was not well received within the Hawke’s Bay community during his term.
‘‘He wasn’t the sort of councillor that the people of Napier could respect,’’ Arnott said. ‘‘He was arrogant, he saw conspiracies everywhere, he was not a team player.’’
Beckett was someone who put himself first, something which you could not do as a councillor, and his campaign to become a councillor was odd because of his lack of publicity, she said.
‘‘He did a very good campaign but you never saw him.
‘‘Nobody knew who he was. He spent three years on the council and then he went off to Canada. He had no history after that in New Zealand.’’
Letts-Beckett, a Canadian, drowned while the couple were out boating in the Rockies.
Beckett, who left New Zealand with his wife in 2002, always denied being responsible for her death.
A cellmate told the court last week Beckett had changed his story about how Letts-Beckett ended up in the water. Beckett initially told the fellow prisoner she had fallen into the lake without him noticing she was flailing. When the unlikelihood of that scenario was pointed out to him, Beckett changed his story, claiming she had lowered herself into the water.