Kiwi jailed for mur­der in Canada

The Press - - News - DAMIAN GE­ORGE

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.