North Dandalup man sentenced to 16 years jail for murdering his partner

Craig Andrew Thorns (48) received 16 years in prison for the murder of his former partner during a drunken fight in North Dandalup, last year.

It was found that Fiona Pauline Booth (50) died from a single fatal 15cm stab wound to the chest on April 3.

Throughout the trial, the court heard a sad tale of a couple entrenched in an on-again, off-again relationship marred by alcohol abuse and violence.

Thorns and Ms Booth first became involved in a relationship in 2008.

On one occasion, Thorns, who is ex-Australian Army and British Army, took out a violence restraining order against Ms Booth.

Ms Booth also took out violence restraining orders against Thorns.

They split up briefly in 2013, but became involved in a relationship again before Ms Booth’s death in 2014.

On the night Ms Booth died the couple had been drinking heavily.

After 10pm, the couple became involved in an argument, during which one of them pulled out Thorns’ commando style knife.

They became involved in a physical altercation during which Ms Booth received cuts to her neck.

Thorns took the knife from Ms Booth.

Around 2am, the argument flared up again and during the course of that argument, Thorns stabbed Booth with the knife.

Thorns called an ambulance immediately and made frantic efforts to revive Ms Booth.

However, she died at their North Dandalup home.

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Ralph Lloyd Simmonds found that Ms Booth’s death “was a spur of the moment matter”.

After his arrest, Thorns told police that he had tried to remove the dagger from Ms Booth, when she ran towards him and received the wound that killed her.

Justice Simmonds said there was a violent relationship between the two, “against the background of a turbulent relationship history”.

He said that serious arguments were unlikely to culminate in serious violence by Thorns “until he snapped”.

Justice Simmonds admitted that there had been incidents in the relationship in which Thorns was injured at Ms Booth’s hands.

“However the stabbing was out of proportion to any provocation made against you,” he said.

Thorns accepted throughout proceedings that it was his fault that Ms Booth died.

But he maintained that she jumped at him while he held the knife out.

Justice Simmonds said Ms Booth had no effective defence against Thorns’ use of the knife.

He said that he accepted that there was a history of significant violence by Ms Booth made against Mr Thorns, “not often seen in this court”.

Ms Booth’s three sons submitted victim impact statements describing the sorrow and shock they experienced due to the death of their mother.

Thorns was found guilty this June at Perth Supreme Court, of Ms Booth’s April 3 murder.

He was sentenced on October 1 to a minimum of 16 years in prison and he will not be eligible for parole until 2030.