A Waikato man has been found guilty of murdering his partner in a savage beating where she was struck more than 70 times.
A jury in the High Court at Rotorua took 45 minutes on Tuesday to find James Te Hiko, 44, guilty of murdering 41-year-old Queenie Karaka, known as Nina Thompson, at Atiamuri in April last year.
The jury reached the verdict in less than an hour. The verdict was greeted with sobs from the packed public gallery and Justice Murray Gilbert gave Te Hiko the first of his three strikes warning.
The trial had lasted six days where the Crown argued the accused knew Ms Thompson could die from the savage drug- and alcohol-fuelled beating he dished out after she suggested she could find another man.
Te Hiko argued it was a case of manslaughter.
He will be sentenced on April 28.
NZN / Newshub.