NZ Police have formally acknowledged the guilty verdict handed down in Christchurch High Court today to David Benbow for the murder of Michael McGrath, following a six year hunt for the truth by officers.
Following the unanimous guilty verdict, Police Detective Inspector Kylie Schaare said her “enduring wish” was that Michael could now be returned to his family.
54-year-old Benbow – an ex prison guard – has always denied killing Mr McGrath. His first trial ended without a verdict earlier this year.
“I would like to acknowledge and thank Michael McGrath’s family and those close to him, who have conducted themselves with so much dignity and grace through what has been the worst time of their lives, said Detective Inspector Schaare.
“They have had to endure the stress of a long investigation, two trials and having their loved one and their own lives laid bare in a court room.
“We knew that no outcome today could make up for the grief and loss they have endured, as nothing brings Michael back.
“My one hope is that they can now move forward in starting to process their grief and the loss of their son, brother, partner, and friend.”
Detective Inspector Schaare also thanked the tireless investigation team behind the case.
“I would also like to acknowledge our investigation team, all those who have worked tirelessly during the past six years to find answers for Michael’s loved ones,” she said.
“This investigation has been a massive undertaking and I give particular thanks to the Police trial team and the Crown Solicitors, who have spent many weeks away from their own families during the investigation and this trial and have been so committed and professional throughout.”
Mr McGrath, a 49-year-old builder, disappeared without a trace in May 2017, shortly after starting a romance with Mr Benbow’s ex-partner. His body has never been found.