The son of Black Widow murderer Helen Milner says she
made his life "hell'' as a child and he never doubted that she
killed her husband Phil Nisbet.
Adam Kearns said he knew his mother was guilty as soon as
police phoned him to tell him his stepfather was dead.
"After police told me, I went to mum's house. She was acting
all upset, but I could fully see through it,'' Mr Kearns
"The police came round with Phil's wedding ring. I gave it to
mum and told her to wear it as a necklace, but she refused. I
walked out, knowing that she'd definitely done it.''
Now 22, Mr Kearns said he had no sympathy for the woman found
guilty of murdering Mr Nisbet in a unanimous verdict
"She always told me when I was a kid that if you do the time,
you do the crime. She always said that,'' he said.
"Now it's me turning round and saying the same thing back to
A jury of seven men and five women delivered their verdict on
50-year-old Milner after seven-and-a-half hours of
deliberations over two days in the High Court at
They found her guilty of drugging Mr Nisbet, 47, with the
sedative Phenergan on May 3, 2009, then, when he was
unconscious, probably finishing him off by smothering him.
They also found her guilty of one charge of attempted murder,
but not guilty of a second.
There were sighs of relief in the public gallery at the
guilty verdicts and Milner was teary in the dock as she was
led to the cells.
Outside court Mr Nisbet's youngest brother Andrew addressed
media on behalf of the family.
"Finally, some justice for my brother after over
four-and-a-half years. We now want to move on and look
forward to a sentence that's going to be appropriate to this
The Crown argued Milner faked her second husband's death to
look like a suicide, motivated by a $250,000 life insurance
payout. The defence argued it really was suicide.
Milner almost got away with it. A homicide investigation was
launched two years later only a coroner refused to find the
death was suicide.
Mr Kearns said he knew his mother was a murderer because she
had talked to him about killing Mr Nisbet for years.
The trial heard Milner even offered to pay his brother Greg
$20,000 for a hitman to do the job.
Mr Kearns' girlfriend at the time, Kasey Woodstock, told the
14-day trial Milner offered them a slice of life insurance
cash if they spent $5000 on hiring a killer.
Mr Kearns said he tried to warn his stepdad of her wicked
"One day as I was leaving their house, I warned Phil. I said,
'she's trying to kill you, mate', and he sort of laughed it
off. He was too naive.
"A couple of days after Phil died I went to the police with
my concerns. But they didn't take me seriously at all. They'd
already put it down as a suicide.''
Mr Kearns' decision to go to the police had unexpected
consequences - his mother framed him for sending fake death
threats putting him in prison on his 19th birthday.
Milner was eventually jailed for two years and eight months
for perverting the course of justice, but not before her son
lost the last of his youth, his job and even his shoes.
She decided to get even by contacting Miss Woodstock - who
split with Mr Kearns on bad terms - and convinced her they
should both take out protection orders against him, claiming
he was stalking and harassing them.
Mr Kearns was then taken into custody for sending his mum
death threats via text message.
"I was arrested and charged with breach of protection order
and threatening to kill, and put straight into prison,'' Mr
Kearns said. `"I was like, 'What?'"
At his first court appearance the following day, bail was
refused and he was remanded in custody at Christchurch Mens'
He spent his 19th birthday behind bars.
While inside, the industrious teenager set about clearing his
He phoned his lawyer and passed on his email account details
and password, along with instructions about where to find an
email he'd kept from months before.
It was a request from his mother asking him to make fake
death threats for her.
"I didn't do it, but I kept the email thinking it might come
in handy at some point.''
It was enough to get police checking out her story.
Officers traced CCTV from a shop that showed Milner buying
the cellphone she used to set up her son.
She was arrested and charged, but it still took three days
for Mr Kearns to be released from prison.
"I spent 18 days behind bars in total. That was my first time
in jail. I got jumped in the paddy-wagon for my shoes. It had
a long term effect on me.
"While I was in prison, my flatmate sold parts off my car to
pay my rent. I didn't blame him, he didn't know what was
going on. I lost my furniture, a really good job I had as a
kitchenhand at a restaurant in Sumner.
"She pleaded not guilty and straight away gets bail.''
Mr Kearns is suing his mother for damages.
APNZ understands he's seeking $60,000.
"All I want is to get back what I lost,'' he said.
His lawyer, Kerry Cook, said Mr Kearns was suing over a
"malicious prosecution ... that she knew to be false''.
Papers were served on Milner during her trial. She has yet to
Mr Kearns is also disappointed with the police's initial
response to Mr Nisbet's death and inability to see through
his mother's deceit.
"I want everyone to know that the police f***** up and for
them to be held accountable,'' Mr Kearns said.
"The police could've dealt with me a lot better. I'm not a
victim, as the son of an offender, and even with the text
messages, I wasn't deemed to be a victim, so I've not had any
help or counselling. I'm still drowning in the sea.
"Five years on, I'm still bumping from job to job because
I've got other s*** on my mind.''
Mr Kearns said it had been tough watching his mother tried
for murder and giving crucial evidence against her even
though she ``made my life hell'' as a child.
"My friends would come over and she'd be nice as pie, but
then they'd leave and she'd just turn on me. She had two
completely different sides.''
He hoped his mother would admit she had problems and get help
but wasn't phased by being the son of a convicted murderer.
"I've always prepared myself for it. I'd probably have had
more mixed feelings if she hadn't set me up and put me in
"But the way she's treated me all my life ... and has been as
a person ... What goes around, comes around.''
Milner will be sentenced in February.