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Carmen Thomas' mother: Our hearts are broken

Published: 6:10AM Friday March 30, 2012 Source: ONE News

The mother of murder victim Carmen Thomas told of lost sleep and nightmares as her daughter's former partner was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years and eight months.

Brad Callaghan had pleaded guilty to killing the 32-year-old in 2010 and dumping her body in the Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland.

In the High Court in Auckland this morning, Callaghan was sentenced to a minimum of 11 years for murder and four years for attempting to pervert the course of justice. His sentence was lessened to 13 years and eight months due to an early guilty plea and good character.

Carmen Thomas, a Remuera mother of one, was last seen alive on June 27, 2010 and was reported missing on July 13 that year.

Her dismembered body was found embedded in pieces of concrete inside plastic containers three months later.

In her victim impact statement, Thomas' mother, Teresa Scott, told the court she had been trying to bond again with her daughter after having differences.

"And now we will never be able to do this. The guilt of this eats at me every single day.  Not being able to talk or see her again and to visualise what has happened to her," Scott said, at times crying.

"I have not slept properly since this has happened which is coming up for two years in June. One cannot function on less than a couple of hours sleep at night, the nightmares are too great."

Scott said no one will understand exactly how the murder of Carmen has affected the family.

"Our hearts are broken, our world shattered and we feel completely and utterly destroyed by what Brad has done to our family."

She also said the young son of Carmen and Callaghan is suffering.

"Our little grandchild has had to suffer the loss of his mother and he has been told that his father did this.

"When we chat to him on the phone he sometimes sounds very down and upset. Although we are not with him all the time one can imagine what is going through his little head how he is trying to make sense of all this."

Last November, Callaghan, the father of Thomas' young son, made a shock confession to the charges of murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice, three months before he was set to go on trial, having pleaded not guilty last May.

Bid to pervert justice

Justice Geoffrey Venning said today that this is one of the most serious cases of attempting to pervert the course of justice that has ever come before the High Court.

The court was told that because Callaghan had dismembered Thomas' body after murdering her, put her remains in to plastic buckets and filled the buckets with concrete, his plan was to dump her remains out at sea.

But when that plan fell through he buried her in the Waitakere ranges.

All that time he was using her cellphone to keep up the ruse that she was alive, continuing text conversations with her friends and even with himself, the court heard.

Row led to killing

The court heard for the first time what sparked the murder.

Callaghan had gone over the Thomas' house to discuss their son and the fact that Thomas wanted to move him out of his school.

That apparently turned into an argument that ended with Thomas telling Callaghan that their son was not his.

Callaghan then used a child's baseball bat as the murder weapon.