Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Australian wife killer sentenced to life with no parole for 27 years

A man who raped his wife with a metal pole and brutally bashed her to death in a prolonged booze-fuelled rage at an Alice Springs' town camp has been ordered to serve two life sentences.
It is one of the longest sentences the Northern Territory Supreme Court has ever handed down to an Aborigine.

Ronald Djana used a hose to whip his 32-year-old partner before belting her with a stick, stomping on her abdomen and dragging her naked body over rough ground, before raping her with either a stick or metal pole, causing severe internal injuries.

A jury last month found the 33-year-old guilty of murder and sexual assault without consent over the prolonged and brutal attack at the Little Sisters camp in May last year.
Djana called an ambulance the morning after his jealous rage, which had started in the dry river bed of the Todd River the previous afternoon. The court was told he was found crying and cradling his wife's bloodied and lifeless body.

Justice Dean Mildren said Djana was a bully with no respect for women or court orders.
"Your treatment of the deceased was brutal in the extreme," he said to Djana who appeared in the Darwin court via video link from Alice Springs.

"You stomped on her, you hit her with a hose and you took a stick or some other object and impaled her."

Djana committed the crime only weeks after being released from jail where he had been serving time for a previous assault on his wife.

He faced a minimum of 25 years in prison but crown prosecutor Nanette Rogers argued the nature of the attack and Djana's ongoing history of abuse warranted a higher sentence. Justice Mildren agreed and today ordered Djana - who had breached a number of restraining orders following previous assaults on his wife - to serve two life sentences.

A post-mortem examination report found she had cuts and bruises on her face, mouth, arms and legs. She had also suffered a brain haemorrhage, a ruptured small bowel, fractured ribs and a stab wound to the vagina that had punctured her bowel.

All of the injuries had been inflicted while she was still alive, the court was told.
Justice Mildren called the attack a "merciless flogging" and sentenced Djana to a minimum non-parole period of 27 years in jail.

It is one of longest sentences ever handed down to an indigenous person in the territory and is one year less than the jail time being served by Bradley John Murdoch. He was sentenced to 28 years in 2006 for the murder of British tourist Peter Falconio and the assault of his girlfriend Joanne Lees.

The case has again raised criticism that too many Aboriginal men in the territory are allowed to face lesser charges of manslaughter, rather than murder or rape.

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