NSW girlfriend killer jailed for 19 years

Russell Brian Wood has been jailed for murdering his estranged girlfriend.An alcoholic who choked and stabbed his estranged girlfriend to death in Sydney told police after the killing: “No AVO was ever going to keep me away from her.”

Russell Brian Wood, 27, pleaded guilty in October to murdering 34-year-old Sarah Brown, who he attacked with a kitchen knife inside her Whalan home in September 2017.

There was an apprehended violence order in place at the time prohibiting him from approaching or contacting Ms Brown – or going within 250 metres of her home or workplace.

“I just did a domestic violence course,” he told police after the murder.

“I didn’t think I’d be this statistic, you know. Always thought I was better … but obviously not. Just a piece of s***.”

Wood said he couldn’t remember what they had been fighting over but she had told him to get out of the house.

“I grabbed her, spun her around, grabbed her by the neck, dropped her to the ground, wrapped my legs around her legs and stretched her out,” Wood, who had Brazilian jiu-jitsu training, said.

Police arrived at the property at 2.08am to find Wood curled up next to Ms Brown, crying and saying: “Please don’t be dead, baby. You can’t be dead.”

He had earlier called his father, saying: “I need you to come over here. Something has happened with Sarah.”

In the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Geoffrey Bellew jailed Wood for 25-and-a-half years with a non-parole period of 19 years and one month.

He said Wood had a “flagrant disregard” for orders made to protect Ms Brown, having breached them before.

“There is no escaping the fact that the deceased was murdered in an atmosphere of serious domestic violence,” he said.

Wood appeared ashen-faced as Ms Brown’s injuries were read out and had to temporarily leave the dock. She suffered stab wounds, neck abrasions, a fractured rib and bruises to her face, arms and legs.

Justice Bellew concluded the murder was aggravated by Wood’s intoxication.

The “on-again, off-again” couple had been drinking together earlier that evening at a Mount Druitt tavern, but Woods left before Ms Brown and waited at her home until she arrived about midnight.

Their relationship had ended one week prior to her death, according to the agreed facts.

It was “inconceivable” based on his record of domestic violence that the self-confessed alcoholic “did not realise” drinking excessively would cause him to become violent, Justice Bellew said.

The judge said regrettably it was too late to protect Ms Brown but not too late to impose a sentence that would deter others who “might be minded to act” as Wood did.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Brown’s daughter – who was 18 at the time – said her mother was “full of life” and a happy, loud and courageous person.

Wood’s sentence was backdated, meaning he’ll be eligible for parole in October 2036 when he’ll be 45.

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