Jouni Risto Ahola went to his cell without apology or admission, having never publicly explained why he bludgeoned to death his future bride on a bathroom floor in Malua Bay.
The 52-year-old father of three was yesterday convicted of the murder of Sandra Margaret Thomson and sentenced to 24 years in prison, with 18 years non-parole.
He stood as ordered for the sentence - a slight man with angular features, a substantial, greying beard and a pale complexion.
NSW Supreme Court Justice Richard Button painted a perplexing picture of a man both capable and callous.
Ahola was a carpenter with a good work ethic - with a drinking problem - but prone to drunken behaviour of the "scoundrel" variety rather than violence or aggression, the court had heard.
That changed the night of October 18, 2011, when Ahola, of Tarcutta in the Snowy Mountains, was staying with Ms Thomson in her flat at Malua Bay, south of Batemans Bay.
Using a wooden baton kept by Ms Thomson for her own protection, he dealt her 19 separate injuries, including a fractured skull, in a frenzied attack that most likely began in the kitchen as she was making dinner.
"In all likelihood the first blow was from behind," Justice Button told the court in Wollongong yesterday.
"At some stage, the deceased sought to escape from the kitchen ... but she was unable to do so. No neighbours heard what was happening, because Malua Bay is sparsely populated in the holiday off-season."
The pair had met in a Gosford hotel one rainy evening, when Ms Thomson was living on the North Coast with her brother. They shared a weakness for the drink.
It had led to her estrangement from siblings and her children, and was the reason she left her marriage in Queensland and, after a time on the North Coast, moved near to where she had grown up on the South Coast.
Only hours before he killed Ms Thomson, while walking to the shops to collect a cask of wine, Ahola phoned a friend and asked her to be bridesmaid at the pair's wedding.
"Again, that conversation suggests that nothing was wrong," Justice Button said.
After his initial attack on Ms Thomson, with her blood pooling on the kitchen floor, Ahola stopped and, according to Justice Button, regained some degree of composure.
Ms Thomson either moved, or was moved, to the bathroom, "perhaps in an effort to clean her wounds".
She tried to shut the door against Ahola but he entered, baton in hand, and "beat her to death". She ended up lying face down, with evidence of a very powerful blow to the back of her head.
Later Ahola used his CPR skills in a futile attempt to save Ms Thomson's life.
"I regret to say that, shortly thereafter, the offender callously smoked a cigarette over the deceased and permitted ash to fall on her body as he pondered what to do," Justice Button said.
In sentencing, Justice Button considered victim impact statements from Ms Thomson's relatives, and the lack of remorse indicated by Ahola's decision to plead not guilty.
Justice Button did not accept Ahola's claims he had called police the night of the murder after seeing people who wished to do Ms Thomson harm.
The murder was not premeditated, but there was an intention to kill, Justice Button said.
"The final ordeal of the deceased was extended, merciless and excruciating. Ultimately, she was left to die on the bathroom tiles."
Ms Thomson's brother, Peter Thomson, said the family was satisfied with the sentence and grateful to police and Crown solicitor Rob Taylor.