'A person's worst nightmare': Joseph Brider jailed for at least 23 years for brutally murdering neighbour

'A person's worst nightmare': Joseph Brider jailed for at least 23 years for brutally murdering neighbour

Updated: 1 month, 19 days, 3 hours, 32 minutes, 57 seconds ago

The man who raped and murdered Colombian woman Juliana Bonilla Herrera will spend at least the next 23 years behind bars.

Joseph James Brider had been out of jail for only 72 days when he murdered Herrera, 37, in her Christchurch home. He was jailed for a violent kidnapping and rape in Taranaki in 2014.

The 35-year-old stabbed Herrera to death at her flat on Grove Rd in Addington on or about January 22 while he was on a reintegration programme with a provider who cannot be named due to name suppression.

Justice Jonathan Eaton in the High Court in Christchurch on Wednesday sentenced Brider to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 23 years and preventive detention, meaning he will be monitored for the rest of his life, even after his release from prison.

* Man denies killing neighbour Juliana Bonilla-Herrera
* Man appears in court charged with murdering neighbour
* Man charged with murder of woman found dead in Christchurch homeJuliana Bonilla Herrera, 37, was stalked and murdered by Joseph Brider in her home in Addington on January 22.

Oriana Perkinson/Supplied

Juliana Bonilla Herrera, 37, was stalked and murdered by Joseph Brider in her home in Addington on January 22.

Claire Boshier for the Crown said Brider’s actions had shattered the world of the victim’s family and was “the worst type of case.”

“This is a person's worst nightmare, to be attacked in your own bed.

“This murder was brutal, cruel, and callous. It is not one of those, it is all of them. A horrific ordeal… She repeatedly begged for her life, he was brutal and unpitying. He felt better for hurting someone.”

The Crown sought a minimum starting point of 26 years and preventive detention.

James Rapley KC, acting for Brider, accepted the murder was brutal, callous and depraved.

“It is hard to imagine someone could commit such a crime, and no-one will understand why.

“Nothing I can say will take away the sorrow, hurt and anguish expressed by her family, friends and work colleagues. They all loved her dearly, and spoke of an amazing young woman with bright energy and a vibrant personality.”

He sought a minimum period starting point of 23 years and a discount for his guilty plea.

Brider had been living at the flat for only a week when he began searching “Colombia lady” on his phone after finding out she lived next door in the same block of flats. His preparations began with buying rolls of masking tape and in the days before her murder he bought a box of condoms and latex gardening gloves.

At 6.05pm on January 21, he started searching pornography online. Searches included “please stop daddy”, “real sleeping” and “sneaking in on mum”.

Herrera returned home about 10pm on January 22 after being out with a friend. She had told friends of her concerns about Brider and spoke of feeling unsafe. Brider broke into her house after midnight and attacked her while she was in bed. Her ordeal was recorded by a sleep app on her cellphone set up to record nighttime noises such as snoring.

The highly skilled graphic designer, who had been in New Zealand since 2011, fought for her life and tried to escape. Brider inflicted 51 separate blunt force injuries and stabbed her repeatedly.

Brider, who tried to cover his tracks by showering, washing clothing and disposing of the murder weapon and other items, initially denied any involvement in the offending.

He pleaded guilty to murder and abduction with intent to have sexual connection in September last year.

Justice Jonathan Eaton at the sentencing of Joseph Brider in the High Court at Christchurch on Wednesday.

John Kirk-Anderson/Stuff

Justice Jonathan Eaton at the sentencing of Joseph Brider in the High Court at Christchurch on Wednesday.

Two victim impact statements were read in court by Boshier, one from Bonilla-Herrera’s sister and the other from a close friend, who found her lifeless body strewn across the floor of her flat.

A third statement from Bonilla-Herrera’s mother was provided to the court, but she did not wish this to be read publicly.

Sister Sara Bonilla-Herrera, who dialled into the court from Colombia, said the past year had been the toughest in her life. She had not seen her sister in years due to the pandemic.

“You took from us an incredible human being who gave joy to others before herself. They took from us a true friend, daughter, aunt and citizen. Her loss is a loss for the entire world.”

In his statement, read himself, Bonilla-Herrera’s close friend told the court that discovering her body threw him into a depression and was “impossible to understand”.

“This horrific murder has had an overwhelming effect on my life.

“It has been the most distressing, heartbreaking, disgusting thing that has ever happened to me.”

He and Bonilla-Herrera had planned a long bike ride on the day she died, and when he turned up to her home after she didn’t show up, Brider saw him and said “she’ll still be sleeping”.

“I never thought you’d be standing in front of me after brutally killing my friend.

“The scene I saw is still vivid in front of my eyes and haunts me. I could not sleep or eat.”

The pair had planned a cross-country biking trip to Palmerston North.

“She did not die in an accident, or by poor health, or old age. She was murdered in her own home by a low life. I had to tell her mother why and how Juliana died. Her mother and nephew were everything to her… a nephew she never met. This low life took his aunt from him forever.”

Her mother would never see her or touch her again, or feel the warmth of her hug again, never dance again, or hold the child she always wanted, he said.

“She left her family, for peace, safety, and security, she worked hard, lived by the rules, what happened to her was a tragedy that never should’ve happened, and one I will never recover from.”

A video compilation of both pictures and videos of Bonilla-Herrera made by her work colleagues was played to the court and described a “loved and respected team member”.

The workplace had many migrant workers, some of who had since returned home after what happened to their colleague.

“This will continue to resonate throughout the business in ways we cannot see. We can keep cherishing those special times together, her warmth and kindness, and wonderful smile,” the video said.

Justice Eaton said the compilation “demonstrates the power of images”.

In sentencing Brider, Justice Eaton said Bonilla-Herrera “repeatedly begged for her life”.

“The intensity of the violence you inflicted is reflected by the scene. Extensive bloodstains and fingerprint marks across the bed indicated that she tried to escape.”

Brider was jailed in 2014 after pleading guilty to a prolonged sexual attack on a woman he knew in May that year. By then he had amassed 27 convictions including for dishonesty and assaulting women. His sentence ended on February 4, 2022. At a Parole Board hearing in October 2021 he impressed as being able to handle temptations to violence and was released from prison on November 10, 2021, under strict conditions including electronic monitoring.

Brider first became eligible for parole in 2018. He appeared before the Parole Board again in 2019 when his risk of reoffending was said to be medium to high. By June 2021 he was on his fourth Parole Board application but was again rejected.


Colombian national Juliana Bonilla Herrera was murdered by a man who had been out on parole for less than three months. (First published September 2022)

Herrera moved from her hometown of San Martin, Colombia, to New Zealand in 2011 to study English. In 2016, she moved to Christchurch looking for better work opportunities.

Once in Christchurch she began hiking and biking and took up photography.

She lived in her Grove Rd flat with her ex-boyfriend, Tiju Joseph, who moved out about a month before her death.

Chief probation officer Darius Fagan said Corrections had carried out a full review into Brider’s management during the 11-week period before Herrera’s death. The review was finished in July and would be provided to Herrera’s family after sentencing.

Corrections said about 15,000 people were required to be released from prison each year. Most could choose where to live, or had provided the New Zealand Parole Board with a release plan for consideration, prior to leaving prison. For high risk people or those subject to electronic monitoring, a person’s address must be deemed suitable by Community Corrections.