Thursday, 17 April 2008

Jail for man who gouged out wife's eye

A Victorian man who repeatedly stunned his de facto wife with a cow prod and gouged her eye out with his thumb could be released from jail in less than three years.

Jason Weidlich, 30, was jailed for six years for his attack on Michiell Maker, but will be eligible for parole in three-and-a-half years after spending a year in custody already.

Ms Maker's family said Thursday they were disappointed with the sentence and the damage he inflicted would be with Ms Maker forever.

"She just broke down and she's scared," Ms Maker's father, Chris Maker, said outside court as his eyes welled with tears.

"I just think for what he done, he should have got a lot longer.

"By the time he gets out, she'll still be having trouble."

Victorian County Court Judge Rachelle Lewitan said Weidlich had been drinking when he attacked Ms Maker about 11.30pm in Malmsbury, central Victoria, in April last year.

She said Ms Maker was partying with colleagues at the Malmsbury Hotel after finishing work there, when witnesses said Weidlich became agitated and aggressive as she spoke with other men, calling her "a little slut".

Ms Maker went to their home, across the road, to avoid a confrontation, but Weidlich followed.

She left the house but returned a short time later and as she walked through the front door, Weidlich jabbed her in the neck with an electronic cow prod.

She fell to the floor and he jabbed her again, and then while exclaiming that the device did not work, struck her once more.

Ms Maker fled to the front yard but slipped, and Weidlich laid on top of her jabbing the prod into her neck.

She managed to escape and ran to the front of the hotel, screaming for help and banging on the windows.

Judge Lewitan said Weidlich smacked Ms Maker's head into the footpath and punched her in the mouth.

He then sat on top of her and used his thumb to prise her left eye completely out of its socket.

As he did so, Weidlich said: "I don't want you to breathe. I would rather go to jail for it this time."

As he was attempting to gouge out her right eye, the hotel lights came on and Ms Maker was able to escape.

She felt her way to the rear of the pub and the owner let her in.

Judge Lewitan said an ambulance officer who treated Ms Maker had to remove her left eyelid from the back of her eyeball.

She said Ms Maker had feared she would die and felt disgusted and betrayed.

Ms Maker's left eye was re-attached but she suffers ongoing sight loss, pain and trauma, she said.

"The facts in this case are very serious and appalling," Judge Lewitan said.

"Your behaviour was outrageous."

Weidlich pleaded guilty to one count each of intentionally causing injury, intentionally causing serious injury and making a threat to kill.

He also pleaded guilty to a summary charge of possessing a prohibited weapon.

Judge Lewitan said Weidlich and Ms Maker had a turbulent relationship with low-frequency domestic violence that had resulted in Ms Maker briefly taking out a restraining order four years earlier.

In sentencing, Judge Lewitan said she took into account Weidlich's early guilty plea, which indicated remorse, and that he was receiving psychiatric help for post traumatic stress and depression.

She said a reduced parole period was appropriate because it would enable Weidlich's supervision on release.

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