A Ballarat man who stabbed his partner 55 times before trying to set her house on fire has been sentenced to 29 years' imprisonment.
Scott Charles Cameron, 35, was sentenced at the Supreme Court in Melbourne on Friday afternoon for murdering Dannyll Goodsell at her Mount Pleasant home on October 5, 2018.
Justice Andrew Tinney described Cameron's attack on the mother-of-two as vicious, saying "you murdered this helpless woman in a terrible way" and "took her life for no reason".
The judge rejected Cameron's claim he acted in self-defence, telling Cameron "there was no excuse for your shocking crime".
Cameron pleaded guilty to murder but claimed Ms Goodsell, aged 33, attacked him first with a hatchet. But Justice Tinney said it was wholly implausible to think Ms Goodsell would have lashed out at her partner when she was so afraid of him.
"I am satisfied, and indeed, satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, that your claim having been attacked by Ms Goodsell was a complete fabrication, made for the purpose of providing at least some explanation for your murder of her," Justice Tinney said.
"In the absence of that explanation for the commencement of your attack upon Ms Goodsell, there is no explanation at all for your shocking crime."
The judge said in the 16 hours before her death, Ms Goodsell had confided in no fewer than four friends she was scared of Cameron, and a week before the murder, he put his hands around her neck.
In her final text message, Ms Goodsell told a friend "I'm scared of Scott".
"Your claim was hollow, cowardly and completely false. I entirely reject it.Justice Andrew Tinney
After he murdered Ms Goodsell, Cameron put her body under the bed and started a fire in a cupboard. He tried to conceal the murder by cleaning the crime scene with bleach and starting a fire inside a cupboard.
The blaze didn't take hold and was still smouldering when firefighters arrived at the Mount Pleasant home hours later.
"These steps you took were callous and displayed an appearance of indifference to the fate of Ms Goodsell which is disturbing, and not easily displaced by your later protestations of the extent to which you supposedly loved her," Justice Tinney said.
Ms Goodsell's body was covered in defensive wounds, indicating she had her arms over her face and neck while she was being attacked in her own bed.
"Your false attempts to blame Ms Goodsell, in part at least, for your attack upon her, represented further heartless behaviour by you which was totally inconsistent with your feeling, at that time,any real sorrow or regret for your terrible crime," Justice Tinney said.
"Your claims of having loved her rang very untrue in light of what you had done to her and the false claims you made afterwards pointing the finger at her."
Ms Goodsell had been in a relationship with Cameron, who had no mental impairments, for about three months before he killed her.
"In the context of an ongoing domestic relationship which left your partner strongly fearing you, at least in the days leading up to her death, for reasons which have not in any honest way been explained by you, you took to her with a dangerous knife while she was in the sanctuary of her own bed in her own home," Justice Tinney said.
"You stabbed her repeatedly and viciously to the head, neck and shoulders. You inflicted dreadful injuries upon her which quickly led to her death. You ignored her futile and desperate attempts to ward off her blows.
"Having killed her, you showed your lack of regard for her by hiding her under her bed, conducting a cursory clean up, then setting the fire in the cabinet intent on burning the crime scene."
"You then left her, dead on the floor, covered in blood."Judge Andrew Tinney
The judge said Ms Goodsell should have been able to look to Cameron for love and protection but he chose to kill her by extravagant, protracted and shocking acts of violence.
"Each single act of stabbing her entailed serious danger to the welfare of your helpless victim. You carried out many such individual acts."
Cameron's sentence was higher than the standard sentence for murder, which is 25 years' imprisonment. He will be eligible to apply for parole in 23 years.
If Cameron did not plead guilty, Justice Tinney said he would have been sentenced to 34 years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 27 years
He has served 608 days of his sentence in pre-sentence detention.
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