A man who was high on ice when he murdered Victorian jeweller Dermot O’Toole during a botched robbery last year has been sentenced to 27 years in prison.
Mr O’Toole, 64, collapsed and died in front of his wife of 41 years after Gavin Perry raided their business at Hastings on Mornington Peninsula just before closing time in July 2013.
Graphic vision of the robbery played in court showed Perry repeatedly stabbing the shop owner with a 20-centimetre carving knife as he lay on the ground after tripping over.
Perry also attacked Bridget O’Toole with the knife, as her husband tried to help her.
She was thrown into a glass cabinet and suffered serious lacerations, which later required plastic surgery.
In sentencing, Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said Perry had poor prospects of rehabilitation and was someone who would pose a continuing risk to the community.
“People who arm themselves with dangerous weapons, and go out with the intention of committing an armed robbery, run the obvious risk that things may not go according to plan, leaving someone dead or injured,” Justice Hollingworth said.
“When such people have consumed ice, there is an even greater likelihood of their reacting or overreacting violently.
“There is considerable need for general deterrence in this case.”
Wife lives in fear
At Perry’s plea hearing in June, Mrs O’Toole said she had not been the same person since the murder and was terrified she could be attacked.
She said she slept upright in her own home so she could escape faster if she needed to.
“I can still hear the glass exploding as I hit that cabinet,” Mrs O’Toole said.
“The terror was horrendous… I find it hard to think about the terror my husband felt as he lay defenceless on the floor as he was stabbed.”
The Victorian Supreme Court heard Perry had come to the store earlier in the day and used his T-shirt to wipe down the jewellery cabinet glass after leaving fingerprints.
He returned just before closing time where he attacked the couple and stole a bag of rings before fleeing.
The court heard the 27-year-old was high on ice at the time of the robbery and was on parole.
He had a long history of offending, appearing in court for the first time at age 12, and more than 200 property offences to his name.
The court heard he committed an armed robbery when he was 21, and committed two other armed burglaries in the days leading up to the fatal attack on Mr O’Toole.
Perry will serve a minimum term of 23 years in prison.