AN Aboriginal man who had a “disadvantaged and dysfunctional” life before he murdered his long-term partner at a Perth home by bashing her to death has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 18 years.
Margaret Indich, 38, was found injured inside a Belmont home on January 3 last year and died in hospital from head injuries, the West Australian Supreme Court heard on Friday.
Ms Indich had complained of being short of breath but when paramedics were called to the house her partner Kenrick Thomas Dodd, 42, turned his aggression towards them and said : “You are not taking my woman.”
After the paramedics left, Dodd attacked Ms Indich and by the time police arrived he had fled.
Upset family members left the court room when the facts were read out, while Dodd kept his head down during much of the proceedings.
Justice Joseph McGrath described the attack as brutal and relentless, and said Ms Indich had been defenceless.
“You inflicted a sustained and violent attack upon your partner,” he said.
But Justice McGrath acknowledged Dodd had a disadvantaged and dysfunctional childhood in which he was born to a 13-year-old mother and lived a transient lifestyle throughout WA.
He also witnessed domestic violence and began using drugs and alcohol as a teenager.
“Your substance abuse and its role in your offending reflect socio-economic circumstances and the environment in which you grew up,” he said.
Justice McGrath noted Dodd had long abused his partner of 18 years, had a significant criminal record and had spent 12 years of his adult life in prison.
He said the father of two showed a callous disregard for Ms Indich, but accepted Dodd was now remorseful.
Outside court, Ms Indich’s mother Irene said her daughter had been a fragile and “very sick little girl”.
“I fought to keep her alive, to keep her close to me, and then she met this man and then she was taken away,” she told reporters.
But she said she was satisfied with the sentence.
“It will never bring her back. I really have a lot of mending to do now,” she said.
“Domestic violence is a terrible thing. It’s got to be stopped.”