Ben McLean sentenced for murder of wife, Verity McLean
Wed 20 Dec 2017
Benjamin Peter McLean has been sentenced for the murder of his estranged wife and attempted murder of her new partner in Invercargill in April ...
Benjamin Peter McLean has been sentenced for the murder of his estranged wife and attempted murder of her new partner in Invercargill in April 2017.
Ben McLean plead guilty in the High Court at Invercargill to killing Verity ('Bert') McLean and attempting to murder Gary Duggan. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.
Mr McLean was a police officer (off-duty) at the time of murder. He left the Police in May 2017 while on remand.
Mr McLean made a tearful statement in court. He called his children "the real victims of this death" and said "Bert was the love of my life who broke my heart and my soul, and I will live with regret and the torment for having been involved in her death for the rest of my life."
Verity McLean's father read a statement outside court saying "He said he had lost the love of his life, in court. He didn't lose her. He executed her."
Media reported victim advocates' criticisms of Ben McLean's statement. Holly Carrington from Shine said "It sounds very much like Ben McLean's mentality was 'If I can't have you, no one can' and that in his eyes, her not wanting to be with him meant that she deserved to die." Lesley Elliott, whose daughter Sophie was murdered by ex-boyfriend Clayton Weatherston in 2008, said "I've heard it all before ... It's all very well [for him] to be remorseful now. Once again he's victim-blaming [suggesting that] it wasn't his fault, he was driven to this by another man or his wife."
In a piece looking at media coverage of the case, Michelle Duff wrote, "Another woman killed at the hands of her partner, and a big, gaping hole where there needs to be two words: domestic violence. These two words have been missing throughout the coverage of the murder of Invercargill mum Verity McLean, 40, by her estranged husband, Ben McLean. ... New Zealand has the highest rate of domestic violence in the developed world. The way the courts and the media talk about domestic violence matters."
For background information and related research and resources, see our previous story Resources for addressing police perpetrated domestic violence.
A District Court judge has attracted criticism for his comments and decision to discharge a man without conviction after he assaulted his partner, daughter and a man he believed his partner was romantically interested in.
A senior Northland police officer has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman, following the officer's involvement in investigating the woman's partner in relation to domestic violence charges in 2002. The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) is also investigating the lack of response to a police whistleblower letter that raised concerns about the police officer's conduct. No action was taken to investigate the officer until the victim laid a formal complaint six months later.
The final audit of the Police response to the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct was presented to Parliament today by the Office of the Auditor General. Police Minister Stuart Nash said "Dame Margaret Bazley’s 2007 report has a long legacy. She identified systemic issues for the organisation which it has been working for ten years to address. There is still work to do but they have come a long way."
Earlier in 2017, New Zealand Police published a final report summarising how Police successfully addressed recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry. The Commission of Inquiry examined the way Police dealt with allegations of sexual assault by police officers and their associates. However, Stuff spoke to several women who came forward after the report was published saying there were still issues with police response.
As many women have come forward in the US and UK to tell their stories of sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual violence, a Newsroom opinion piece Weinstein problem in NZ? Who’s to know asks whether there are conditions in New Zealand that make coming forward more difficult or the problem more hidden.
Long-serving police officer back at work after harassment investigation, Stuff, 11.01.2018