The family of murdered Australian surfer Sean McKinnon will be spared a trial after New Zealand man who killed him pleaded guilty to murder.
On Wednesday, the High Court in Hamilton heard Mark Garson, accused of killing Mr McKinnon during his sleep last August, change his earlier plea and admitted the crime.
The New Zealand Herald reported Mr McKinnon's family, including his Canadian fiancee Bianca Buckley, watched the hearing on videolink.
The plea reversal means Mr Garson, who has been detained since the killing, will not go to trial next month, and instead be sentenced for murder and threatening to murder December 9.
Mr McKinnon and Ms Buckley were sleeping in a campervan parked at Te Toto Gorge, near the surfy, tourist town of Raglan, last August when Mr Garson fired several shots at the van.
Ms Buckley escaped, fleeing through the bush and seeking refuge in a farmhouse where she alerted authorities to her partner's death.
Mr Garson was apprehended on the outskirts of Hamilton later that day, having driven the campervan for some time before abandoning it.
He was seen by the court twice last year as unfit to enter a plea on mental health grounds, before pleading not guilty in December.
Earlier this year, New Zealand man Roderick Finlayson was given six months community detention for supplying Mr Garson with the weapon he used to kill Mr McKinnon.
At that sentencing, Ms Buckley said she now feared going out at night, suffered anxiety, and couldn't work for months after the shooting.
The midwife has also cancelled her plans to settle and raise a family in Australia, without her future husband, and has instead moved back to Canada.
"I am essentially starting my life from scratch again, all the while grieving my soulmate, having flashbacks of that night and waiting for a slow justice process that will see me in and out of court, at least until the end of this year," she said, according to the Herald.
Mr McKinnon, 33, was farewelled in Warnambool last year, near his hometown of Narrinda.