“A bloodbath” is how the ACT’s Chief Justice described the crime scene in the Tinder date murder of Canberra man Frankie Prineas.
Jayscen Anthony Newby, 27, stabbed Mr Prineas 37 times, including in the heart, in January last year.
Today Chief Justice Helen Murrell sentenced him to 20 years jail, with a non-parole period of ten years.
Outside the ACT Supreme Court the family of Mr Prineas said Newby’s jail term was not long enough, and that today’s sentence had left them in “total dismay”.
Crime scene described as a ‘bloodbath’
Mr Prineas was killed at a house in Charnwood in Canberra’s north on January 11, 2020, while on a Tinder date with a woman Newby had previously dated.
It was the first time the two had met.
Newby let himself into the home and attacked Mr Prineas when he discovered the pair in bed, stabbing him almost 40 times.
Chief Justice Murrell told the court today Newby was motivated by anger and jealousy.
“It was an assertion of dominance and control,” she said.
“There was no acceptable reason for the offender to become enraged.”
The court heard the distressed triple-0 call made by the woman immediately after the attack.
“I think he’s dying, can someone come… he was attacked with a knife,” the caller said.
“I can’t look,” she said, when being asked to put pressure on the wounds.
“His arm is like, open.”
Chief Justice Murrell refused to allow images of the scene to be shown in court, citing concerns about trauma for staff and others present.
“The [images] of the scene show what can only be described as a bloodbath,” she said.
Killer ‘laughed’ at news article of murder
During today’s sentencing the court heard that, in a conversation with his mother from Canberra’s jail, Newby laughed as she read an ABC story to him about the killing.
When she asked why he was laughing he said: “because it was hilarious.”
The court also heard that Newby blamed his former partner for the murder in an email to his mother.
“He refers to himself as a pawn in her game and says Mr Prineas is another pawn in her game,” prosecutor Kegan Lee said.
Newby’s lawyer Beth Morrisroe told the court it could not form the view there was no remorse, and noted he had pleaded guilty, avoiding a trial.
But Chief Justice Murrell disagreed.
“I can’t see any substantial indication of remorse,” she said, noting Newby’s laughter at the news article “demonstrates the offenders lack of insight and emotional maturity”.
Chief Justice Murrell also mentioned the profound impact on Mr Prineas’s family, pointing to their moving victim impact statements.
“It was a brutal and sustained attack,” she told the court.
“The last few moments of the deceased’s life would have been horrific.”
Family in ‘complete shock’ after verdict
Outside court, Mr Prineas’s father Victor said today’s sentence had left the family in “complete shock”.
“We knew we weren’t going to get justice; we knew it wasn’t going to be great, but we didn’t expect it to be so bad,” Mr Prineas said.
“In nine years, [Newby] will be out and back into our community and hopefully with a bit of luck he won’t do the same thing he did to my son.”
Mr Prineas said the trial had been “harrowing” and “disturbing”, and had left the family feeling as though a longer jail term was warranted.
“It was heartbreaking – the evidence that was shown,” Mr Prineas said.
“The triple-0 call was horrifying, the video that he had of the crime scene was horrific – the whole thing was absolutely horrific and this was the outcome: 10 years.
“We are absolutely stunned.”
Mr Prineas said his son was “a jewel in a crown”.
“He was cheeky, handsome, respectful, loved by all, he was one-in-a-billion, you don’t get children like that,” Mr Prineas said outside court.
“Frankie was special. He’s a child that is gone, never to be back, just completely disappeared, he is in our hearts every minute of every day.”
When the sentence was read, members of Mr Prineas’s family did a slow clap in the public gallery, with one saying “have a nice life my friend” as Newby was led away.
Newby did not respond. He will be eligible for parole in 2030.