A man who flew from Brisbane to murder his estranged wife in Auckland on Valentine's Day in 2011 has been jailed for at least 17 years.
Uday Desai, 48, slashed the throat of Titiksha Desai at her home in Highland Park, southeast Auckland, with a box cutter knife bought shortly after he landed in New Zealand the day before.
Justice Mark Woolford sentenced Desai in the High Court at Auckland on Thursday to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.
After returning to New Zealand on a one-way ticket on February 13 last year, Desai went to the property he owned jointly with his wife, smashed his way through the door and then attacked her.
Desai was also found guilty of threatening to kill and assault with a weapon on neighbours who tried to subdue him.
Neighbours said they heard Desai say: "I have done my job, she will die", shortly after the attack.
Desai had separated from his wife after 27 years of marriage in New Zealand turned bitter.
He told police later that his wife had set his daughter against him and was upset at the matrimonial property arguments they were having.
Crown lawyer Aaron Perkins said Desai told a police officer he had come to "put his wife down" and told a neighbour "my daughter is free".
"Seldom has the Crown been able to present such compelling evidence of a planned killing."
Desai said little in his defence at sentencing other than to express his anger at his wife for turning the community against him.
Justice Woolford said Desai had contemplated killing his wife for some time.
He said Desai had given up his job and accommodation in Brisbane and put money in his daughter's account shortly before flying to Auckland on a one-way ticket."You obviously prepared yourself for what was to follow - your apprehension."
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