The Christchurch Bar have been shocked at the death of senior criminal lawyer – ‘a force to be reckoned with’, as one said – following a Bar dinner.
Margaret Sewell died unexpectedly at her Fendalton home. She had represented some of New Zealand’s most notorious murderers, including double child killer Jeremy McLaughlin and “black widow” Helen Milner.
Her unexpected death has left colleagues, friends and family saddened, with Canterbury Criminal Bar Association Nicola Hansen describing her as one of the ‘leading lights’ of the Christchurch criminal bar.
She leaves her partner Rupert Glover, who is also a criminal lawyer, the two frequently working together. They were also subject to a $170,000 theft by a former practice manager who was guilty of what was described as ‘breathtaking dishonesty.”
The couple featured as defence counsel in the Helen Milner poisoning case and the murder trial of Jeremy McLaughlin. In 2013, Milner was found guilty of drugging her husband in 2009, and McLaughlin began serving a 23-year sentence in 2013 for the murder of Cashmere High student Jade Bayliss, aged 13.
At the time of her death, Sewell was representing two accused charged with murder.