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Vic woman jailed for husband’s burns death

Vic woman jailed
Angela Surtees pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting she caused her husband's death. Photo: AAP
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“He’s got superficial peeling,” is how Geelong mum Angela Surtees described to emergency services the horrific fatal burns she caused her husband by dousing him in petrol and setting him on fire.

Daniel Surtees was crying out in pain in the background of the triple-zero call on January 25, 2019.

Surtees used a garden hose to put out the flames that engulfed the 36-year-old Geelong father while his two youngest daughters watched on.

Mr Surtees suffered burns to 80 per cent of his body and died in hospital the following day.

Angela Surtees pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting she caused his death as a result of an unlawful and dangerous act.

She wanted her husband to fear he would catch on fire when she poured a red jerry can of unleaded petrol over Mr Surtees as he sat in an armchair in their home’s enclosed porch sunroom.

Surtees then lit a cigarette lighter in close proximity to the fuel, sparking the blaze.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Andrew Tinney on Friday jailed Surtees, now 35, for 12 years.

There were cries and sobs in the courtroom as the sentence was read out.

Having already spent two years behind bars, Surtees will be eligible for parole after another six years.

“You and you alone caused his death by your criminal and outrageous actions which constituted a serious act of family violence,” Justice Tinney told Surtees.

Justice Tinney has previously been critical of Surtees and her response to Mr Surtees’ injury and death, describing the question of her remorse as vexed.

She wrote in a letter to the court that she would be “a prisoner of grief for the rest of my days”.

But she never mentioned in the letter or her police interview the trauma she inflicted on Mr Surtees, he said.

“At no point did she express any concern at all for his pain that he was going through, the agonising situation he was going through as she spoke,” he said.

Surtees snacked through the interview.

“There’s no crime in that, but she did not come across as being a very distressed person at all,” Justice Tinney said.

She gave an ever-changing account of what happened, to paint herself in a better light, and blamed Mr Surtees’ brother for his death after he made the decision to turn off life support.

Mr Surtees’ eldest daughter remembered him as a fiercely protective “classic Aussie larrikin” who loved to cook.

“All the special moments to come in my future – my heart will be hurting,” she said.

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– AAP