A man in Yellowknife has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a parole officer, in a case the judge called a "brutal and vile" crime.

Eli Ulayuk pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in court Wednesday for the October 2004 killing of parole officer Louise Pargeter.

Pargeter's murder shook the community of Yellowknife, and parole officers across Canada. She was the first parole officer to be killed during a home visit in Canada.

In sentencing Ulayuk, 36, to life in prison, Justice Ted Richard told him it was a "brutal and vile" crime, and "the ultimate betrayal" of a woman who was just trying to help him.

In an agreed statement of facts Ulayuk admitted that he had been thinking about killing Pargeter since 2001 when he first met her. He had been on parole for a 1988 manslaughter conviction.

The court heard Ulayuk hit Pargeter five times with a hammer, strangled her with twine, and then had sex with the body.

The Crown and defence attorneys made a joint submission on sentencing.

Crown attorney John Cliffe says the penalty is the same as for first-degree murder. He says agreeing to reduced charges meant a quicker conclusion to what could have been a long trial.

"The judge made it very clear: this is one of the most serious cases to come before the court, of second-degree murder," he says. "And he made that very clear with respect to its brutality, its horrendous nature, and its sadistic nature."

Justice Ted Richard sentenced Ulayuk to life in prison, recommending no parole for at least 25 years.

"Collateral damage"

"This man killed her, but her job put her in a position where she was killed," says Anne Lynagh, Pargeter's life partner.

Corrections has said it has implemented safety changes since Pargeter's death, but Lynagh says the department hasn't improved them enough, and hasn't answered many outstanding questions about the circumstances of the woman's death.

She says public safety is at risk.

"Corrections has done everybody in Canada a disservice," she says. "I think they really don't have the tools – well, they have the tools, they assess people, they still let them out.

"And I'm collateral damage."

Corrections Canada officials attending the sentencing refused to comment.