Kāpiti man sentenced to life for murder

Police investigated the murder at Paraparaumu Beach.

Justice Simon France has today sentenced Kāpiti man Brian McConachie to a life sentence for what the Judge described as the premeditated, brutal murder of Irina Scantee carried out in full public view.

Justice France says McConachie had an extensive history of mental health incidents. He said he had never been diagnosed with a major mental illness.

“He plainly had ideas of suicide, but he decided he would also kill the victim,” he says in sentencing McConachie to a minimum non-parole period of 10 years.

McConachie slashed his ex girlfriend’s throat in the weeks after their break up. He was described in court as a jealous man who murdered his ex girlfriend in a brutally determined way after she broke up with him.

The Police evidence said McConachie, 49, became fixated on his victim after she broke up with him in August 2019. McConachie and Ms Scantee had met on an online dating website just under a year earlier, and had what was described as an intense relationship.

Ms Scantee had intended returning to her native Romania when the relationship ended.

The police summary of facts showed on the night of the murder, McConachie drove to the house in Paraparaumu Beach where Ms Scantee was staying and asked her to come and speak with him in his car. McConachie ended up driving her away from the property.

“Either during the journey or at the time of parking, the defendant began to strangle the victim.”

Ms Scantee managed to get out of the car and tried to get away from McConachie, who was following her.

McConachie at first tried to claim Ms Scantee had been attacking him, before retreating to his car and grabbing a box cutting knife. He grabbed Ms Scantee in a headlock and slashed her throat with the box cutter, the summary says.

When Ms Scantee fell to the ground, McConachie continued cutting at her throat, “causing her almost immediate death”.

He then drove away from the scene, sending text messages to friends and family announcing he had killed Ms Scantee.

Defence lawyer Val Nisbet says McConachie had limited cognitive ability, saying a sentence of life imprisonment would be manifestly unjust due to his mental health issues making prison a particularly difficult place for him.

“He still struggles to comprehend how and why he could have done such a thing.”