Former soldier Dane Andrew Pilcher has been sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 20 years for murdering his ex-girlfriend Corinne Henderson.
Supreme Court Justice David North said the 38-year-old entered Ms Henderson’s apartment with “murderous intent” before fatally stabbing her at her Townsville apartment in north Queensland in September 2015.
“Corinne Henderson died because of a sustained and particularly violent attack by yourself,” Justice North said.
“The evidence of your own messages indicates that you were motivated by vengeful jealousy when she ended your relationship and became involved with another man.
“The jury’s verdict, based upon an overwhelming prosecution case, is that you went to, and forced your way into the apartment with murderous intent, and with that intent, attacked and killed Corinne Henderson.”
Pilcher broke into Ms Henderson’s Idalia apartment in a jealous rage to confront her after finding pictures on social media with the man she was rumoured to be seeing, Dwayne Wickham.
He kicked through the kitchen window and claimed Ms Henderson had stood in the living area holding a knife, and that he acted in self-defence.
But earlier this month, a Supreme Court jury in Townsville took just four hours to convict him of murder, dismissing his claims.
Pilcher’s lawyer Harvey Walters also disputed Ms Henderson had been stabbed more than 20 times during the trial, and claimed there were only two stab wounds with the rest being “mere cuts”.
Pilcher was bleeding profusely when police arrested him at the scene.
Case about ‘sexual jealousy’
Prosecutor Michael Cowen QC told the court during the trial there were a few “societal myths” at play in the defence case, some of which belong “back in the Victorian era”.
“‘If I can’t have you, nobody will’ [is] really what this case is about — sexual jealousy,” he said.
Pilcher said the pair had met in late 2013 when they were both working on a fly-in, fly-out mine site.
“We were infatuated with each other, perhaps obsessive,” Pilcher said.
Outside the court, Pilcher’s father Norm Pilcher said there was “a lot that didn’t come out in the trial”.
But he would not say if the family will lodge an appeal.
Friend of Ms Henderson, Sally Jupp, described her as a “pocket rocket” who was just as comfortable wearing steel-capped safety boots and high-vis gear as she was strutting her stuff at the fashions on the field.
“She was also about to start building a brand new house. It was due to start being built on the Monday after she died,” Ms Jupp told the ABC.
Ms Henderson was extremely close to her mum and dad, who were in Townsville at the time of her death helping with the plans for her new home.
“The blessing is that they had such a great day together at the races before she died. Her family are still stunned and in disbelief. It’s just been a nightmare,” Ms Jupp said.
‘What have I f***ing done?’
Police bodycam vision played to the court shows Ms Henderson dead on the floor of her bedroom.
The jury also heard a recording of the triple-0 call Pilcher made on the night. He told the operator:
“I have killed my ex-partner. She is not moving at all. I am pretty sure she is dead.
“There is blood everywhere, blood everywhere … it is everywhere.
“Oh my God, what have I f***ing done?”
Pilcher did not answer when the operator asked if there had been a “confrontation”, nor did he ask for an ambulance.
The vision also shows officers finding Mr Wickham hiding in another room, only emerging when they assure him Pilcher has been removed.
Mr Cowen said Pilcher’s claim the pair “wrestled” over the knife was “nonsense”, given his larger size and relative fitness.
“She cannot have her hands on that knife when it’s going through her shoulder … slashing across her back [and] damaging two ribs,” Mr Cowen said.