Snowtown “bodies-in-the-barrels” serial killer Robert Joe Wagner has lost his bid for a non-parole period to be set.
A non-parole period could have paved the way for his eventual release.
Wagner, 47, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2003 for his role in 10 murders, committed during the 1990s.
The trial heard gruesome details about his crimes, including that he and co-offender John Justin Bunting had cannibalised one of their victims.
Wagner applied to the Supreme Court for a non-parole period to be fixed to his sentence, telling the court in a hand-written letter that it would “greatly assist” his “mental wellbeing”.
The Director of Public Prosecutions and members of the victims’ families objected to the fixing of a non-parole period.
Justice Greg Parker dismissed the application on Thursday afternoon.
“I firmly consider that the ‘bodies-in-the-barrels’ murders are the worst crimes ever to be detected in South Australia,” he told the court.
“None of the murders committed by the applicant displayed any mitigating features. The applicant is plainly a hardened killer.
“The applicant expressly declined to assert that he was remorseful for his appalling actions, on the basis that he would be accused of lying to support the fixing of a non-parole period.
“The lack of even a bare assertion of remorse is consistent with the observation of [sentencing judge Brian] Martin that the applicant is incapable of true rehabilitation.”
The remains of eight victims were found in acid-filled barrels in a disused bank vault in Snowtown, in South Australia’s mid-north, in May 1999.
Bunting and Wagner were convicted of 11 and 10 murders respectively.
Outside court, commissioner for victims’ rights Bronwyn Killmier welcomed the decision.
“Nothing will compensate for the loss of the 10 victims murdered by Mr Wagner,” she said.
“Families and friends of those people live forever without them and struggle to cope.
“The original trial judge declined to set a non-parole period because of the gravity of the offence, the circumstances of the crimes and the lack of contrition. Nothing has changed.”