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Police Acknowledge Sentencing For Murder Of Bella Te Pania

Detective Senior Sergeant Nicola Reeves:

Today Police acknowledges the sentencing of the man who committed the callous and senseless murder of Bella Te Pania last year.

Bella was just 34 years old when her life was cut short.

I would like to thank the investigative team who worked tirelessly over the last year to ensure Bella’s killer was brought to justice.

But more importantly, our thoughts are with Bella's whānau and friends today as they come to terms with the decision.

It is my hope that this result may bring them some closure, but I know it does not bring Bella back or bring an end to the grief of losing her.

There is sometimes a perception in the community that sex workers won’t be missed, that they don’t deserve the same protections, or that Police will not put the same effort into solving crimes committed against them.

That perception couldn’t be further from the truth.

Bella was very much loved.

She was a daughter, a sister, a partner, a friend, and a mother to a little girl.

Her friends described her as loyal, loving, and always putting the needs of others before herself.

She, like all of us, deserved the opportunity to live a full, happy life.

Sex work is legitimate work done by real people who have the same rights as the rest of society.

Sex workers, like all New Zealanders, should be able to go to work and be safe from violence and harm.

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