On the side of the road heading into Port Vila town centre a woman brandishes a newspaper, hawking it to passing traffic.

“JUSTICE FOR ALICE” is the arresting headline.

“Who’s Alice?” I ask our colleague, Lagi Toribau, who we’re working with in Vanuatu.

“She was murdered by her partner last year”, he says, quietly. It’s an infrequent crime here.

We buy the Vanuatu Daily Post, and read of how the Vanuatu Supreme Court has sentenced Philip Jimmy – who was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Alice Karis – to 26 years in prison. The paper describes the medical evidence showing she’d died following a vicious, prolonged and deliberate attack.

Half an hour later I find myself sitting next to Alice’s killer in Vanuatu’s maximum security prison. They’re grim, the prisons in Port Vila. The men’s remand and maximum security jail was built by the British in 1942 and it appears little has changed since then. It’s concrete, small, dirty, dismal. There are currently 46 men locked up, down from 54, an inmate says, a few weeks ago.

Does that reduction in numbers make a difference to what it’s like to be here?

“So much. When the muster is high the number per cell can rise to eight.” READ MORE