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Father of abandoned girl jailed for life

world Updated: Jul 31, 2009 13:06 IST

A man was jailed for life on Friday for strangling his wife in New Zealand before abandoning his three-year-old daughter at an Australian railway station, sparking an international manhunt.

Nai Yin Xue, 56, was impassive as Justice Hugh Williams in the High Court in Auckland told him he would remain behind bars for at least 12 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Last month the Chinese immigrant was found guilty of strangling his 27-year-old wife, An An Liu, at their Auckland home and dumping her body in the boot of his car.

Liu’s body was discovered by police in September 2007, days after Qian Xun -- nicknamed “Pumpkin” by police after the brand of her clothing -- was found crying at a Melbourne railway station as her father fled to the United States.

Xue became the focus of worldwide media attention when security camera footage showed the little girl alone by an escalator at the Southern Cross station as her father calmly walked away.

He was caught five months later on the outskirts of Atlanta by six Chinese-Americans who recognised him after US marshals had posted a USD 10,000 reward for his capture.

The judge told Xue on Friday that his history of violence against his wife before the murder was among the reasons he would serve more than the minimum parole period of 10 years.