Tuesday, 5 March 2024 - 11:38am |

Police acknowledge sentencing in relation to the death of Michael McGrath

2 min read

Attributable to Detective Inspector Kylie Schaare:

Police acknowledge the sentence of life with a minimum period of imprisonment of 17 years handed down today in the Christchurch High Court to David Benbow for the murder of Michael McGrath on 22 May 2017.

Today was about Michael's family finally having a voice and being able to say through their Victim Impact Statements the terrible reality that the last nearly seven years has been for them.

I acknowledge Michael’s family, his mum, dad, brother, partner, and friends who have conducted themselves with so much dignity and grace throughout this long journey, which has culminated in sentencing of the offender today.

They epitomise what it means to be heroes, they have shown immense courage dealing with a loss no family should have to endure.

The impact of losing Michael, as we heard in court today, is life long and deeply unfair.

He was the happiest he had been when he was taken by the cruel and callous actions of another, something that can’t be rationalised and that has long lasting ripple effects for all those who knew and loved Michael.

His family and friends have endured the stress of a long investigation, two trials and having their loved one and their own lives laid bare in a court room.

Today’s sentence doesn’t alter the grief and loss they have endured, nothing brings Michael back, but I hope they can now start to process their grief and pain and find a way to move forward.

That is made even more difficult by not having Michael returned to them, so he can be put to rest with dignity and his family could have a place to visit and remember him.

I would also like to acknowledge our investigation team, all those who have worked tirelessly during the past nearly seven years to find answers for Michael's loved ones.

This investigation has been a massive undertaking and I give particular thanks to the Police trial team and the Crown Prosecution team, who have spent months away from their own families during the investigation and trials and have been so committed and professional throughout.


Issued by Police Media Centre