A man has been sentenced to preventive detention for a series of horrific beatings, including an assault with a hammer, on his former partner.

Harry Kenny, 35, of Hamilton, had earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of injuring with intent to injure, assault with intent to injure, assaulting a female, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, attempting to pervert the cause of justice, rape and kidnapping.

He appeared in the High Court at Hamilton where Justice Rhys Harrison also imposed a 10-year non-parole period, the Waikato Times reported.

The charges related to Kenny’s former partner Pauline Witeri, 50, who was found dead at a friend’s house in Ngaruawahia on May 31 last year. An autopsy found she died of bleeding and swelling to her brain.

Justice Harrison said he had no doubt based on psychiatric and physiological reports that Kenny continued to pose a real risk to women.

Preventive detention was the only practical means of protecting the community, he said.

Referring to a pathologist’s report, Justice Harrison said Ms Witeri had multiple injuries at the time of her death, including a fractured bone in her throat.

He told Kenny that the only reason he had not been charged with murder was because of the pathologist’s “inability to say on oath that (Ms Witeri’s) injuries had resulted from your violence”.