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New Zealand’s Black Widow

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 2:06 pm Thu 19th December 2013

This is one hell of a story; the sort of story you’d hope to only find in a book.

Helen Milner (aged 50) who has become known as the Black Widow during the course of her trial, was today found guilty by a jury at the High Court in Christchurch for the murder of her husband.

The case was first reported as a suicide, however, following a coroner’s ruling, was later brought back to court, alleging that the Black Widow had put the sedative, Phenergan, into Mr Nisbet’s evening meal then while he was heavily sedated, smothered him to death with a pillow.

Husband poisoning: Initial investigation seriously flawed

The first police investigation in to the sudden death of Phil Nisbet, which concluded he had taken his own life, was seriously flawed, an internal police probe has concluded.

In a further twist to the case it has been revealed

“The Black Widow’s own son is suing her for $60k after she framed him and he wrongly spent 18 days in jail.”

Details of the case have previously been suppressed, but it can now be revealed that Milner and Kearns’ former partner, Kasey Woodstock, went to the police in April 2010 alleging that Kearns sent them abusive and threatening text messages while a court order prevented him from contacting them.

Story here.

This is where it really gets interesting:

Kearns was arrested for allegedly breaching a protection order and held in custody for 16 days because Milner and Woodstock told police they feared for their safety.

This woman is carrying on a lesbian relationship while she is trying to kill her husband for his insurance money?

Is the real killer still running free? Watch this (click on statement from the family)

    Standard report below;

Helen Milner has been found guilty of murdering her husband.

A jury returned the guilty verdict in the High Court at Christchurch on Thursday morning, following the nearly three-week trial, dubbed “the Black Widow trial” by media.

Milner, 50, was charged with two counts of attempted murder and one of murdering her second husband Philip Nisbet by poisoning him in April 2009.

She was found guilty of one of the attempted murder charges but acquitted of the other.

The defence maintained Mr Nisbet committed suicide by taking the drugs himself.

The jury took about seven hours to reach its verdict.

Milner will be sentenced in February.


  1. about freeken time.

    Shame that she got the money got the lifestyle and biggest shame an innocent man died.

    Honestly this makes me sick.

    Comment by Dominic Dilligaf — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 2:37 pm

  2. Just wait and see how many years will be dished out to her.

    I bet it be less then 10 years. Like all the time Women gets lighter jail time in New Zealand.

    Comment by Shinhee Yi — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 2:39 pm

  3. I have a couple of queries.

    1. Anyone know what happened to her first husband?

    2. Can we really be surprised that the police initially dismissed this as a suicide? Afterall so many men in NZ are killing themselves…..or are they?

    I see the psychiatric report suggests that Ms. Milner was slightly depressed. So I suspect that depression, coupled with the fact that she wears a skirt and our fantastic justarse system then she’ll be well on the way to six months home detention.

    Comment by Bruce S — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 6:36 pm

  4. I that happens I hope some hit man do society a favor and put a bullet on the BXXchs head.

    Comment by Shinhee Yi — Thu 19th December 2013 @ 8:33 pm

  5. Story:

    On the day of Nisbet’s death, the first two police officers on the scene were suspicious about Milner’s behaviour and the way events were unfolding, according to evidence in the trial. The internal report says they then raised their concerns with their supervising sergeant.

    Would this situation have arisen if the victim had been a woman? Is it so commonplace (500 odd male suicides a year) that men kill themselves in droves in this country that police right off any case they can to suicide. Are there other cases that should be reinvestigated?

    Lee-Anne Cartier, 44, spent thousands of dollars on flights and phone calls searching for the truth about what happened to her brother, Philip Nisbet, and is now taking legal advice on possible action against the police.

    “They did a half-arsed job,” she said.

    “There are consequences when you screw up.”

    Why shouldn’t she be reimbursed for doing the job of the Police. Any other Police sub-contractor would be seriously pissed off if they didn’t get paid.

    If she keeps digging she might even find a co-offender!

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 20th December 2013 @ 8:53 am

  6. About 8 years ago, a policeman at Whakatane, was privately prosecuted for perjury. The police later refunded the farmer’s lawyer’s charges for running the prosecution. This was only about $2,000, so I would guess that the farmer who did the prosecution would have carried quite a lot of other costs.

    The provision in the legislation that allows private prosecutions is quite important to justice, as both of these cases show. I guess John Banks would support that, as he is a strong supporter of justice and law and order. I guess that a lot of National Party MPs are also watching these cases with trepidation.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 20th December 2013 @ 9:29 am

  7. Would this situation have arisen if the victim had been a woman? Is it so commonplace (500 odd male suicides a year) that men kill themselves in droves in this country that police right off any case they can to suicide. Are there other cases that should be reinvestigated?

    Hi Downunder – precisely my point; the police just write off a male death as a suicide; I do wonder how many male suicides are in fact “covered up” homicides?. Absolutely no way a woman can commit a crime against a male in feminist NZ!

    Perhaps we need a new category in MENZ called the BLACK RIBBON HALL OF SHAME where we can maintain an ongoing record of what the girls of New Zealand are doing to their men?

    Comment by Bruce S — Fri 20th December 2013 @ 4:55 pm

  8. Hi Bruce, I don’t want to belittle the cause ‘suicide’ for I think there’s a lot of room for campaigns around men and boy’s suicide. However, ….

    the police just write off a male death as a suicide;

    Police don’t have the power to do this, in NZ.

    They send the body to the coroner when it’s a sudden death (suicide or other) and close off the area where the death happened. They treat it like a possible crime scene. They also close off the area and treat if like a possible crime scene if a man is in hospital and might die. (I have experienced a thing or two, lol)

    The coroner decides the reason for death based on observation and tests.

    Comment by Julie — Fri 20th December 2013 @ 6:40 pm

  9. Isnt this exactly what happened in the Black Widow case julie?
    From my reading Bruce is right the police just wrote it off as a suicide. They have now admitted that their investigation was flawed. It apears in this case that without the input of family pushing the coroner and providing enough evidence for the coroner to ask the right questions that the case was revisited. If the coroner had relied on the police investigation would the truth have come to light?
    It does raise the question of , are there other cases out there similar where a police investigation deems suicide but that may not be the case. Who else does the coroner have to rely on for evidence to the contrary but the police. Who else has the resourses to investigate the death and provide the coroner with this information?

    Comment by mits — Sat 21st December 2013 @ 8:12 am

  10. Re-investigations of old bungled cases is a weak point in NZ.

    The only area where NZ investigations are reasonably competent, is in aeroplane crashes, where the work must meet international standards and is reviewed by people outside the influence and control of NZ Government.

    The caught$ avoid it, unless they are pressured by very strong external forces, same for Government in general and police in particular.

    This is understandable, as it exposes repeatedly incompetent practice and often brings out threads of corruption too. Best avoided, if at all possible. It is so inconvenient that wrongfully imprisoned people complain so much, bleat on and on. Why don’t they just shut up and accept their lot in life and leave the superior beings in peace and wealth? Accountability?

    How many familycaught$ cases have been sorted out, on the initiative of the familycaught$, ever?

    I have only heard of cases being sorted out, when the familycaught$ were threatened with public exposure.

    The fact that too many parents then don’t follow through with the public exposure, is what allows these same problem$ to continue and continue. They have been bought out, by the crook$.

    So, for murders written off as suicides, it is probably a safe guess that there are a handful of such cases, each year. (I mean men murdering women and women murdering men too.) Helen Milner was said to be not very sharp, implying that more intelligent women would get away with murder. The police always tackle the not very sharp suspects. The caught$ also make easy mincemeat of them.

    The police do appear to investigate women’s deaths more carefully, than men’s deaths. It is hard to criticise them, when this same prejudice goes through our mental health hospitals and probably a bit in physical health hospitals too. It is hard to criticise police, when most of the pressure to do that comes from both men and women.

    We pay the police for statistics, for putting people in jail. One alternative, would be to pay them for putting the right people in jail. This is not as dumb as it sounds and in the long run, would be cost saving.

    If our economy got worse, then we might be forced to upgrade and modernise our caught$ and police. Our old habits cost us dearly, in the social sense. Mostly, we drop the social damage onto individuals and just leave them to suffer.

    The private prosecution of Peter Whittall may go some distance to making these problems more obvious to oblivious NZers. Private prosecution is an active response and is much more effective, than passive responses such as complaining. It is most effective when out of the control of Government, who might want it to fail. (They could easily be in the same situation in the future…) MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sat 21st December 2013 @ 11:29 am

  11. 10 Murray, from the front line – recently – Murders and serious violence – offences which reach the public consciousness are the cases which receive Investigative attention – I do not personally believe there are differences with the resources based on Gender –

    The problem facing ALL NZers, ALL PARENTS, ALL CITIZENS is simply this = the police have been turned into a revenue collecting service, they have been corporatized – with the primary focus being that of generating REVENUE…….

    Serious crime by and large is NOT investigated – shelved – filed, unless it is in the public eye……

    Detectives are now required to issue traffic tickers – one per hour – must pull over 4 cars per hour……given that how much time do you think they have left to investigate serious crime – from personal experience – NONE……

    Roast Busters – Police took the blame, – but the reality is that the Police have been stripped of resources to fight CRIME, staff, budgets, CRIME costs MONEY ……..traffic cars, generate revenue.

    Plus there has been a systematic and deliberate attempt to reduce reported crime statistics – make it hard to report a crime, disband investigation units that proactively sought out crime – cant have that – they will increase reported crime stats – not good moving into election year……

    These are the realities of the current way the Police have been moved from a service organization to a Revenue collecting division.

    And if you look at what Police attended and investigated back in the 1980’s compared to NOW, you will be horrified at what the PUBLIC have LOST in actual SERVICE…….

    We used to have a good service and it could be that way again, but it will need many good people to stand up and say no more of the current B/S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by hornet — Sat 21st December 2013 @ 9:09 pm

  12. I haven’t followed the Helen Milner trial carefully, so I may make a fool of myself? What if?

    It appeared that there was no direct evidence, only circumstantial. There were phenergan purchases at chemists, not too distant from where Helen Milner had taken out cash withdrawals, within some time period.

    She had discussed murdering Phil with workmates – I wouldn’t expect any murderer to do that? She sounds more like an idiot, than a murderer. She had a long time reputation as a pathological liar. Most of the pathological liars I have met or known haven’t carried out a murder? (Sure, I would see any pathological liar as a prime suspect for murder.)

    Maybe she had annoyed enough people, to have exhausted all sympathy and trust. Letting people get away with crime, is reinforcing such behaviour, rather than showing anyone kindness.

    Some people say that miscarriages of justice only get people who are guilty anyway, guilty of something? Maybe often true, but it still doesn’t justify framing innocent people.

    She doesn’t sound to be the full quid. Classic framing fodder?

    I hope that the police and caughts have got it right, for her sake and for the long suffering taxpayer’s sake too.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sat 21st December 2013 @ 10:14 pm

  13. #12. You’re right Murray, you should have followed the case more carefully.

    Comment by golfa — Sun 22nd December 2013 @ 7:54 am

  14. Dear Golfa, I have read a bit more and I do see the stronger links in evidence.

    Nonetheless, my point was that just because a person loses the sympathy of those around them (sometimes by a huge amount of destructive behaviour), the facts should be carefully looked at on their merits.

    All of our miscarriages of justice have involved people who were easily framed, who were not smart enough to be able to defend themselves properly.

    People who for some irrelevant reason didn’t have the sympathy of those around them. Arthur Allan Thomas, Mark Lundy, David Bain, David Dougherty……. We probably don’t know half of these names.

    Proper justice works irrespective of sympathy, not because of it. Justice should be a job, not just winning on statistics, or seeking public support for prosecutors or police.

    The public outpouring of scorn on Helen Milner reflects people’s frustrations that she wasn’t called to account for her behaviour earlier. Sounds as though there has been a serious lack of justice, for many years.

    Perhaps if justice had worked effectively, Helen Milner wouldn’t be in this situation now? Phil Nesbit would still be alive! I hope that all of these are seen as incentives for us to get justice to work much better. Justice delayed is justice denied.

    If the open justice works this poorly, how could anyone ever hope for familycaught$ to work effectively and in a timely fashion? MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 22nd December 2013 @ 10:05 am

  15. Dear hornet, you are right.

    Plus there has been a systematic and deliberate attempt to reduce reported crime statistics – make it hard to report a crime,

    I have seen this in action quite a few times. In the end, the complaint was only able to be made, by putting it into a letter, addressed to the Minister of Police and copied to the local police station.

    We used to have a good service and it could be that way again, but it will need many good people to stand up and say

    I am privately prosecuting you for xxxx offence. Best regards, MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 22nd December 2013 @ 10:14 am

  16. yes Murray, that seems to be the only available means to the general public to flush out this corruption and to actually see justice done….lay private informations, place issues before the public forum, and then watch the rats run…….

    Comment by hornet — Sun 22nd December 2013 @ 12:13 pm

  17. Dear hornet,

    My old mate, Andrew Wotton used to say about the familycaught$ “Lift a rock, shine a bright light in and you will see cockroaches run in all directions”. I used to think he was being rude, but I am now honoured to repeat his words!

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 22nd December 2013 @ 3:35 pm

  18. Speaking of people with mental illnesses.

    I wonder how many lawyers ion the system have one. Without a doubt there are misandrists working in the family court, and misandry, I’d contend is more than a belief system, but, rather a form of extreme anti-social malaise or malady, akin to an anti-social personality disorder. Hating an entire gender is an extreme, and is usually caused by a form of abuse in childhood, like other pathologies.

    I can think of one example, Johanna Robertson from Unity Chambers. She has a reputation for trying to bully people, is often agressive and hostile in court, calling men “Crazy,” and “disturbed,” and “insane,” who ahs every witnessed a person with mental illness saying everyone else is crazy, perhaps that’s Johanna as well.

    One father is court tired of her abuse and physically attacked her in Manukau Court, and while I don’t condone any form of violence against anyone, I can see how this happened.

    When people are under a great deal of stress, and what is more stressful than the welfare of a person’s child being put in jeopardy, then when someone trying to provoke or abuse the parent, either as a strategy to get a reaction, or because of the lawyers dysfunction, well its amazing this doesnt happen more often.

    Comment by Jerry — Thu 2nd January 2014 @ 9:43 am

  19. I’ve heard of Unity Chambers before but I don’t recall the name Johanna Robertson being mentioned here before – sounds like a mean piece of work.

    Was anyone charged with the assault on her?

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 2nd January 2014 @ 10:54 am

  20. I overheard Johanna Robertson telling another lawyer this. I have no idea even if what she says is credible.

    My experience with her is that she’s not merely mean, but, there is something wrong with her mentally, and the Family Court is a forum for her to vent his frustrations with her life and her hatred of men.

    I had another lawyer tell me that there are two kinds of lawyers Laboradors and pit bulls, she’s a pit bull. A rabid one in my view.

    Comment by Jerry — Thu 2nd January 2014 @ 11:18 am

  21. It was the other lawyer her called her a pit bull not me.

    Comment by Jerry — Thu 2nd January 2014 @ 11:18 am

  22. And the latest …. She’s appealing her conviction. No surprise there …..

    Comment by golfa — Thu 13th March 2014 @ 10:11 pm

  23. Black Widow appeal turned down:

    Helen Milner, the woman dubbed the Black Widow, has lost her appeal against her conviction for murdering her husband.

    The Court of Appeal today released its decision, dismissing the appeal by Milner against her convictions for murder and earlier attempting to murder Philip Nisbet.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 5th August 2014 @ 10:40 am

  24. Black widow appeals

    I have no doubt this woman is rightfully behind bars but I wonder if someone else shouldn’t be there with her.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 26th August 2014 @ 6:51 pm

  25. She’ll be home free within 12 months.

    Comment by rc — Tue 26th August 2014 @ 7:05 pm

  26. In February she was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 26th August 2014 @ 7:12 pm

  27. And we are all equal before the law.

    Comment by rc — Tue 26th August 2014 @ 7:22 pm

  28. Update

    Convicted killer Helen Milner has been ordered to pay her son $55,000 after she framed him for a crime he never committed.

    Adam Kearns, 23, was held in custody for more than a fortnight after he supposedly breached protection orders by sending his mother and ex-partner Kasey Woodstock abusive and threatening text messages in March 2010.

    It later emerged that Milner had bought a cellphone and sent the text messages herself.

    Comment by Downunder — Wed 5th November 2014 @ 3:54 pm

  29. In relation to (18) – Jerry’s mention of Johanna Robertson – Unity Chambers (LAWYER FOR CHILD):
    I’ve had the unfortunate experience having Johanna Robertson as “lawyer for child”. The outcome: sudden disruption and separation of a close bond between myself (father) and son (3 yrs old). Johanna has a psychology degree which she uses as a weapon of mass mental and emotional destruction against a father and any relations with there child. Johanna uses her psychology knowledge to emotionally and mentally abuse the fathers with the intention of ruining the relationship between fathers and their children.

    WARNING: If Johanna Robertson is selected to be your child lawyer – REQUEST A DIFFERENT LAWYER FOR CHILD before its too late.

    I have not seen or spoken to my child for 6 weeks , Johanna has notified me that she does not want me and my son to have any contact weather it be by phone or video call. She also made false statements in court which was used to influence the judges decision and over all perspective.

    Comment by Robin — Fri 26th June 2020 @ 4:56 pm

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