The police officer who headed the Coral Burrows murder investigation says todayâ€™s guilty plea by her stepfather Steven Williams will provide some closure for the little six year oldâ€™s family and friends.
"The guilty plea is the first step in the healing process but nothing will bring their wee girl back," says Detective Inspector Rod Drew, head of Operation Reef. "Her life has been stolen from them forever by a moment of senseless violence."
Mr Drew praised the way the community responded to the news on 9 September that Coral was missing from her South Featherston School.
"Within hours of the report of her disappearance we had dozens of local people joining family, friends, police and civilian volunteer search and rescuers in some appalling weather.
"That momentum continued for three weeks as the investigation painstakingly followed up every bit of information.
"It wasnâ€™t just the police looking for Coral. Her family, her friends and indeed the whole nation provided support and motivation. The offers of help were overwhelming."
Mr Drew said he hopes something positive will come from the outpouring of grief amongst the Wairarapa community when Coralâ€™s body was found.
"This is a wonderful place to live, work, retire and bring up children. We must build on the initiatives of the Violence Free Wairarapa Campaign to ensure that all of our children are safe -- letâ€™s do it for Coralâ€™s sake."