Chch man jailed for at least 23 years over neighbour's 'brutal' murder

Joseph James Brider.

A man who admitted killing his neighbour in a "brutal" and "callous" attack has been sentenced to at least 23 years in prison.

Colombian national Juliana Bonilla Herrera, 37, was found dead in her home in the Christchurch suburb of Addington in January 2022.

Joseph James Brider pleaded guilty to her murder in September, and also admitted to a charge of abduction for sexual connection and breaching his release conditions.

The 35 year old's also been sentenced to preventive detention, which means he'll be monitored for the rest of his life.

Brider had only been released from prison in November 2021, 11 weeks before Juliana's death.

He'd been serving time since 2014, after he was convicted of various sexual offences including rape.

As Justice Eaton handed down his sentence at the High Court in Christchurch on Wednesday, he said: "What's abundantly clear is your offending has caused so much pain, so much grief, and so much distress to so many people.

"There's nothing in the material I've reviewed that indicates you have any prospect of a successful rehabilitation."

Juliana Bonilla Herrera had been a resident in New Zealand for the last 10 years.

Juliana Bonilla Herrera.

Her family were listening to the sentencing from overseas, but a statement from her sister was read by Crown lawyer Claire Boshier.

She called it "the hardest year of [her] life" and said: "My sister is gone, the pain hasn't stopped."

A close friend, who found Juliana's body, told the court "the scene I saw in the evening is still vivid in front of my eyes, and still haunts me".

"I used to smile and trust everyone and now I don't do that anymore."

A review of Corrections' management of Brider was completed in July last year and has just been released.

It found "there was nothing to indicate that offending of such a serious nature was imminent".

Speaking to media after the sentencing, Corrections' Canterbury District manager Toni Stewart said they found the parole sentencing conditions were managed "appropriately".

Stewart said, "however, there were some small practice learnings that were established as a result of the review".

It found GPS data has a limited ability to detect small changes of location, and said further research is needed.

The review recommended the department take a close look at the workloads at the Christchurch Community Corrections sites.

In a statement, Juliana's family said: "We hope that greater attention is paid to the mental health of people in all stages of life; procedural errors are corrected in all organisations so that future tragedies can be avoided."

They wrote: "[Juliana] should still be alive.

"Don't forget Juliana so that history doesn't repeat itself."

The parole board has also commissioned an independent review into the decision to release Brider.

New Zealand Parole Board Chair Sir Ron Young said, "it will consider all of the evidence the Board based its decision on".


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