News National Cafferkey killer’s appeal bid fails

Cafferkey killer’s appeal bid fails

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Steven James Hunter told police after they arrested him for his second murder he wanted to be locked up forever.

The High Court has now granted him that wish.

The Victorian man was last year jailed for life without parole after pleading guilty to the 2012 murder of 22-year-old Sarah Cafferkey.

He went all the way to the High Court to appeal the sentence but Justices Susan Crennan and Susan Kiefel quickly refused his application on Friday on the ground it had insufficient prospects of success.

Ms Cafferkey’s mother Noelle Dickson was overwhelmed with relief.

“Thank you to Justices Crennan and Kiefel for making it clear that just because you plead guilty, it doesn’t mean you receive a parole period,” Ms Dickson told reporters.

Hunter was the first murderer in the state’s history to plead guilty at the earliest opportunity and still be sentenced to life without parole.

Ms Dickson was one of many in the crowded courtroom who applauded when the High Court rejected Hunter’s appeal bid.

“My beautiful daughter will never get another chance of life, nor should her murderer,” Ms Dickson said outside court.

“Sarah was given a life sentence, I have a life sentence and now Hunter has a life sentence, which is what he deserves.”

Hunter, 48, admitted killing Ms Cafferkey at his Bacchus Marsh home, where he repeatedly stabbed her and bashed her with a hammer during an argument.

Hunter later put her body in a car and drove it to a Point Cook home, where he put the body into a wheelie bin and poured concrete inside.

He had completed parole on other offences just nine days earlier.

It was the second time he had killed a young woman.

In 1986, when he was 20, he killed his 18-year-old colleague Jacqueline Mathews, an offence for which he served 13 years.

Seeking special leave to appeal his life term without parole, Hunter’s lawyer Daniel Gurvich told the High Court the initial sentencing judge and then the Victorian Court of Appeal placed too much weight on the nature of Hunter’s crime and his criminal record.

Mr Gurvich argued not enough weight was placed on matters including his remorse, guilty plea, co-operation and a willingness to engage in treatment programs.

Refusing the application, Justice Crennan said it would not enjoy a sufficient prospect of success to warrant special leave to appeal.

Ms Dickson said she now looked forward to an inquest which she said would investigate systematic errors within Corrections Victoria, the Adult Parole Board and Victoria Police.

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