Ballarat man walks free despite pleading guilty to violent attack

A BALLARAT man who almost killed his pregnant girlfriend before evading arrest and remaining on the run for more than seven years, has avoided jail.

Dean Speedie, 34, will not have to spend any time behind bars, despite pleading guilty to the violent and unprovoked 2006 attack in which he punched, kicked and stomped on the mother of his two children. She was pregnant at the time of the attack.

Sentencing Speedie to a three-year community corrections order in the Melbourne County Court last week, Judge Liz Gaynor said the victim woke next to a large pool of blood on July 6, 2006. 

Judge Gaynor said the 24-year-old woman had a swollen and black left eye, a ruptured left eardrum, extensive cuts and bruising to her head and face and bruising to her upper arms and torso. 

A previous plea hearing heard the woman had earlier cooked dinner for Speedie and his friends at his parents’ Ballarat home. 

Judge Gaynor said Speedie fled to Darwin immediately after the attack and remained at large for more than seven years until he handed himself in to Ballarat police on July 31 last year.

Interviewed last year, Speedie told police he remembered the night of July 5, 2006, and the next morning, but said his memory was clouded because of his consumption of beer, scotch and the drug Xanax. 

“Although you said you could recall stomping on her head, you could not recall what actually took place in the bathroom. It was an extremely vicious attack,” Judge Gaynor said.

She said Speedie had been a drug user since his early teens, progressing to heroin in his 20s. 

Referring to a psychologist’s report, Judge Gaynor said she agreed that had it not been for his drug altered state at the time, the offending may not have occurred. 

“I am satisfied, on balance, that this offending arose because of your excessive intake of drugs and alcohol. That is not to excuse your offending or to say it was less serious because it was committed in that context ... but in terms of violence, I find that you do not pose a danger to the community,” Judge Gaynor said.

Speedie was ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid community work and must seek treatment for drugs and alcohol.