A PERTH man who murdered his on-and-off partner during an argument about the quality of meth she had bought will spend at least 18 years in jail for what a judge described as a calculated and gratuitous act of violence.
Damien John Couzens, 38, was convicted in August of murdering 42-year-old Jody Websdale, a mother-of-four, including former Collingwood AFL player Kirk Ugle.
She was found in the courtyard of her Midland unit on March 9 last year with ligature marks around her neck.
The WA Supreme Court heard the pair had both taken methamphetamines, while she had also taken other drugs including cannabis and benzodiazepenes, and he had also drunk alcohol.
Justice Michael Corboy said during sentencing on Wednesday that Couzens had committed a deliberate and calculated act of violence.
He acknowledged Ms Websdale’s four children, who he said loved her deeply and felt a profound sense of loss that was exacerbated by the shocking way she died.
Justice Corboy said while Ms Websdale had personal difficulties, she had raised four children who showed their devotion to her by the way they conducted themselves during the trial.
A visitor saw Couzens standing over Ms Websdale as she lay face down and motionless, saying “get up” and nudging her with his foot.
The visitor said Couzens seemed “really aggro” as he went back inside to prepare some food, closed the curtains behind him and turned up music.
After briefly leaving the unit, the visitor returned to see Couzens looking scared and saying: “Help me try and wake her up.”
The court also heard Couzens was aggressive towards paramedics and police when they arrived.
Defence counsel Justine Fisher had submitted there was no intent, and Couzens had tried to rouse and help Ms Websdale rather than flee the scene.
Justice Corboy said he could not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Couzens intended to kill the victim, but it was a senseless and gratuitous act of violence.
Couzens was sentenced to life behind bars with a minimum of 18 years.
With time already served, Couzens could be released on parole in 2034.