The prospect of Ewen Macdonald being out of jail by Christmas has angered the victims of his three-year crime spree.
Macdonald, 32, who was acquitted earlier this year of murdering his brother-in-law Scott Guy, was described yesterday as "callous" and "brutal" by a judge who sentenced him to five years' jail on six charges predating Guy's killing in July 2010.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust, which is working with Guy's widow Kylee, said the jail term was a "slap in the face" for her, especially since Macdonald will be eligible for parole in December, having already served 17 months in custody.
Feilding deer farmer Craig Hocken, who had two trophy deer poached by Macdonald in 2006, said he would be disappointed if Macdonald did not serve his full stretch behind bars.
"I'd like him to spend five years in jail at least.
"He obviously needs some help, he's obviously got a few issues . . . hopefully he'll come out a better person."
Hocken, who had previously called Macdonald a "bad apple", said he had lost money because of the poaching. However, he did not expect a repayment order to be made.
"I've got a small farm here and I really need that money . . . not to mention the stress it caused."
Some of that stress came from wondering what would have happened if the shots had missed his deer and carried on towards the house where he, his wife and young children were sleeping.
Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said he was disgusted that Justice Simon France split Macdonald's offending into two groups - crimes against the Guy family and the other charges - then imposed a cumulative sentence on that basis.
"When you go out and commit serious crimes like Macdonald did, every one of those should have a price," Mr McVicar said.
"It wasn't until [his co-offender] Callum Boe came forward and the police had him [Macdonald] cornered that he pleaded guilty."
Earlier this month, Kylee Guy sent a letter to the attorney-general asking for Macdonald to serve back-to-back sentences for all six of his crimes, calling him a "dangerous" and "vindictive" man.
It is understood she also submitted a victim impact statement to the court for yesterday's sentencing, but it was on the condition that Macdonald did not get to hear it.
In a statement yesterday, the Guy family said Macdonald's punishment gave them no closure or satisfaction. It was simply a reminder that there were consequences for his actions, they said.
"One consequence is that Ewen is no longer part of our day-to-day lives. He has lost our trust and has hurt us deeply and shaken the values which our family hold dear."
In the High Court at Palmerston North, Justice France said the crimes were driven by revenge and a sense of entitlement.
The "missions" were undertaken with former Guy farm worker Callum Boe, but Macdonald was the lead offender, he said.
And though Macdonald had written to the court expressing his remorse, Justice France said he had watched Macdonald's videotaped early interviews with police and saw no signs of regret.
The offending against Scott and Kylee Guy, which involved the arson of an old farmhouse on their property and an axe attack on their new home three months later, was designed to cause "maximum hurt and engineer fear," Justice France said.
"There was a real breach of trust, particularly as regards [Scott Guy's parents Bryan and Jo] who have provided you with so much."
Despite all the damage caused, the judge did not order Macdonald to pay any reparation, as he did not have the means to do so.
Crown prosecutor Paul Murray said each of Macdonald's offences required separate sentences.
"The offending against Scott and Kylee Guy was intensely personal, with the intention to unsettle.
"[Macdonald] was able to conceal his offending from everyone around him for some considerable time."
Macdonald's lawyer Greg King said there was a great breach of trust in Macdonald's offending against his family, but he had taken "genuine and profound" steps to change.
"He said in his letter he hated the person he'd become and the reality of the extent of the harm and hurt he had caused was instrumental in turning his life around."
Macdonald had organised a blessing of the Guys' new house, gave Kylee Guy a tree for her birthday, enjoyed success in a farm competition, was elected to a school board of trustees and undertook a personal development course.
In July, Macdonald was found not guilty of his brother-in-law's murder after a month-long trial in the High Court at Wellington.
At the time of the murder, he was married to Guy's sister Anna, with whom he has four children. She left him nine months after he was arrested for murder.