News State NSW News Teacher killer Vincent Stanford sentenced to life
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Teacher killer Vincent Stanford sentenced to life

The judge sentenced Stanford to 15 years in jail for aggravated sexual assault and life sentence for murder. Photo: AAP
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Vincent Stanford has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder and sexual assault of western New South Wales schoolteacher Stephanie Scott last year.

Justice Robert Hulme told the court that Stanford seldom thinks about his crime and showed no hint of remorse for his disturbing acts.

“The level of culpability is so extreme that it warrants the maximum penalty,” he said.

Justice Hulme said evidence such as Stanford’s violent sex-related internet searches and his possession of knives and handcuffs convinced him that Stanford would “represent a serious danger to the safety of the community”.

He sentenced Stanford to 15 years in jail for aggravated sexual assault, followed by a life sentence for murder.

Leeton High School teacher, Stephanie Scott. who was murdered in 2014. Photo: Facebook.
Leeton High School teacher Stephanie Scott. who was murdered in 2014. Photo: Facebook

The court heard Stanford had stalked several women in Leeton prior to Ms Scott’s murder.

Ms Scott, 26, was last seen in April 2015 at her workplace in Leeton High School in western NSW just days before her wedding.

Stanford was arrested four days after and was charged with her murder, aggravated sexual assault and inflicting actual bodily harm.

The teacher’s burnt body was found by police in the Cocoparra National Park about 70 kilometres from the town of Leeton, five days after her disappearance.

The court heard Stanford had violent thoughts and when he was stressed it could build up to an intolerable level.

Stanford told forensic psychiatrist Anna Robilliard he could not learn to tolerate people, and “this is just the way I’m arranged”.

“He said he had always had thoughts of killing someone from the time he was seven or eight years old,” Judge Hulme quoted from the psychiatrist’s report.

“He said that being in the company of other people was stressful and [he] disliked it.”

Stanford told the psychiatrist he did not enjoy killing Ms Scott, but acknowledged that it reduced his overall tension and the overwhelming urge he had to kill her.

Justice Hulme explained to the court Dr Robilliard’s opinion was that Stanford met the criteria for a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Stephanie’s family will celebrate her 28th birthday

Aaron Leeson-Woolley
Stephanie Scott’s fiance, Aaron Leeson-Woolley (centre), arrives at Griffith Local Court for the sentencing of her killer. Photo: AAP

Outside the court, Ms Scott’s mother Merrilyn spoke on behalf of the family and Stephanie’s fiance Aaron Leeson-Woolley.

“Losing her has shattered so many lives and we are all struggling with the consequences,” she said.

“So much has been taken away from us – Stephanie has had everything taken away from her.”

Merrilyn Scott said her family and friends would not be answering any further questions from the media.

“We need to be able to fade from public view, to mourn our beautiful girl and work our way through our grief,” she said.

“Tomorrow we begin to celebrate Stephanie’s too short, amazing life.

“This should be her 28th birthday, the second one we celebrate without her. We will be having a cup of tea and a mint slice biscuit.”

Vincent Stanford’s twin brother, Marcus Stanford, was released on September 9 from a New South Wales jail after serving his 15-month jail term for being an accessory to the crime.

 

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