THE man who murdered Whorouly mother Karen Chetcuti is facing life in prison, most likely without parole, despite pleading guilty to his “shocking” crime.
Justice Lex Lasry told Wangaratta Supreme Court today he would consider handing down a life sentence without parole for the first time in his career.
“I have never declined to fix a minimum term, but this is a shocking case,” he told the court, including murderer Michael Cardamone, 50, seated emotionless in the dock.
The court heard Cardamone incapacitated, tortured and burnt alive his Whorouly next-door neighbour Ms Chetcuti sometime between January 12 and 14 last year.
Despite Cardamone’s guilty plea – which usually calls for a minimum prison term to be imposed – Justice Lasry indicated he would likely sentence the killer to life in prison with no chance of parole.
“What troubles me most is he kept this woman as a prisoner – alive – then took her to the bush and burnt her to death,” he told the court.
“There’s not a shred of regret or second thought, or anything.”
Ms Chetcuti’s mother, Clary Verbunt, made an emotional impact statement in court, describing the “deep, dark, black hole of pain” inside her following Karen’s death.
“A parent should never have to hear the details of the death of their children,” she told the court.
“For all of us, Karen’s death is a life sentence.
“The nightmares will not stop; I’m haunted by Karen’s last moments.
“Life will never be the same.”
Cardamone’s defence counsel, Patrick Tehan QC, is to continue his plea in the Wangaratta Supreme Court tomorrow, with sentencing expected later this week.
Full coverage in Wednesday’s edition of the Wangaratta Chronicle.
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