Melbourne girl, 10, praised for bravery in harrowing murder
After watching her dad stab her mum, a brave 10-year-old Melbourne girl tried to check on her younger sister.
Covered in blood, her mum had run from the back of the house toward a neighbour's home to get help.
She followed but headed back toward the front to try and sneak in to check on her six-year-old sister.
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Before she could do anything her dad came after her, waving a knife and screaming "I need to kill you".
He chased her down the driveway but tripped on the pavement, giving her a chance to cross the street away from him. She ran to a nearby home and called emergency services.
Both her mum and sister died at the hands of her dad.
"There is nothing more she could have done to help her mother or little sister," Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said on Tuesday, acknowledging how brave she was in the face of terrifying events.
She jailed the man, now 41, for 27 years on Tuesday. He must serve at least 19 before he's eligible for parole.
He was in a drug-induced psychosis, triggered by the use of ice. He later revealed he believed he had reacted in anger when his wife tried to stop him harming himself.
After the older daughter fled, the father turned his attention back on his 38-year-old wife of 13 years.
He attacked her for a second time, returned to his own front yard, then attacked her for a third time on the porch yelling over and over "I kill you and I love you".
Police arrived and disarmed the man. Attempts were made to save his wife but she died at the scene.
Officers discovered their six-year-old daughter inside the house with three stab wounds. She was rushed to hospital and into surgery but died the following day.
The man pleaded guilty to two charges of murder after admitting what he had done to police.
His wife had called police earlier in the day about her husband's drug use. He was paranoid and kept talking about his family being kidnapped.
Justice Hollingworth said the man was not motivated by ill will toward his family.
"On the contrary – you loved them and wanted to protect them from what you believed, in your irrational psychotic state, to be a threat of kidnapping or murder by someone else," she said.
He had a history of drug use and in April 2021 was hospitalised for increasingly erratic behaviour in the context of methamphetamine use.
Justice Hollingworth said the man was clearly distressed when speaking to police and psychiatrists about what had happened and said in a letter to the court he was ready to be punished.
He also apologised to his wife's parents, his parents and his surviving daughter.
"I have done wrong to you and your mum and sister. Please forgive me," he wrote.
"Your dad is still a good man and loves you loads. Be always a good girl, the way you always were."
His lawyer said the man's greatest punishment was his own, self-inflicted loss of his cherished family.
Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).
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