Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Double life for "merciless flogging"

The Northern Territory Supreme Court has sentenced a 33-year-old Aboriginal man to two life sentences for the rape and murder of his wife in an Alice Springs town camp.

It is one of the longest sentences the Northern Territory Supreme Court has ever handed down to an Aborigine.

Djana called an ambulance the morning after his jealous rage, which had started in the dry river bed of the Todd River the previous afternoon.

The court was told he was found crying and cradling his wife's bloodied and lifeless body.

Djana committed the crime only weeks after being released from jail where he had been serving time for a previous assault on his wife.

A jury found Ronald Djana guilty of both crimes last month.

His 32-year-old wife died about an hour after she received three blows to the head near the Little Sisters camp in May last year.

Justice Dean Mildren today recounted the prolonged attack on the woman, which also involved her being hit with a rubber hose, stomped on and impaled with an object.

Justice Mildren described the attack as a "merciless flogging", committed shortly after Djana's release from jail, where he had served a sentence for assaulting the same victim.

He accepted the Crown prosecutor's submission that the case warranted higher than the minimum non-parole period and ordered Djana to serve a minimum of 27 years in jail.

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