Friday, 11 April 2008

Man jailed for executing pregnant wife

Mark Galante has today been sentenced to 27 years' jail, with a non-parole period of 20 years, for the murder of his pregnant wife.

Betraying no emotion as the sentence was handed down, Galante, 29, will not be eligible for release from prison until 2026.

The guilty plea brought to an end a saga that involved Galante making an initial public plea for his wife to return home, then, when her body was found, asking for anyone with information about her murder to come forward.

Galante, a self-employed confectionary supplier, was the last person to see his wife alive.

He reported her missing to police on January 7, 2006, saying he had last seen her when he dropped her off near Parklea Markets that morning.

Several days later Galante, with the couples' parents, fronted a televised press conference, pleading with Mrs Galante to return.

A tearful Galante said: "We all love you. Please come home. We're really worried about you. She was a loving wife ... Anyone who has seen anything at all, if they could come forward and help the police."

Galante's mother, Angela, stood by her son's side, saying he "worshipped" his missing wife.

The missing persons investigation became a murder brief when her body was found on Pattersons Ridge fire trail at Wollemi National Park, near the Bells Line of Road, Bilpin, in the Blue Mountains on January 14.

At the time police said she had died from a single gunshot wound to the head before her body was dumped.

Ms Galante, a receptionist with a Castle Hill staff hire firm, was wearing the same clothes that she had been reported missing in and still had her jewellery and her glasses on her. Her handbag had been placed by the side of her body, police said.

The next day, when asked if he was involved in the disappearance of his wife, Galante said: "No. No way. Absolutely not."

On January 17, Galante made another public appeal, this time for assistance with the murder investigation.

He told reporters: "She was a loving wife ... Anyone who has seen anything at all, if they could come forward and help the police."

During this time police seized two of Galante's computers, phone bills, photos, one of Mrs Galante's hair brushes, a pair of her shoes and the couple's 1991 silver Toyota Camry sedan for examination.

Galante did not like the way the police investigation was heading. He said at the time that some of the police investigators "didn't specifically say that I did it but they [were] basically insinuating that I had something to do with it".

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