Jail time cut for Vic man who killed wife

·2-min read

A Melbourne man who admitted killing his wife has had his jail sentence reduced.

Douglas Eustace murdered his wife Mary in their share house in Hallam in January 2017.

He was initially jailed for 25 years and ordered to serve a minimum of 20 before becoming eligible for parole.

But his lawyers argued that was excessive because he had pleaded guilty to the charge, showed genuine remorse and had good prospects for rehabilitation.

Mary Freeman was 41 when she died.

She met Eustace while in Australia on a visitor visa and later returned from India after agreeing to marry him.

Their marriage was unhappy early on and they began to sleep in separate beds.

Ms Freeman told a friend she was "fed up with the marriage" and would only stay until Eustace received a permanent visa.

On the night Ms Freeman died, a joke about whether men or women were superior turned into a heated argument.

Friends encouraged them to settle the argument behind closed doors so Ms Freeman went to her bedroom.

Eustace followed, hiding a large kitchen knife down his pants before going inside.

Eustace later told police that Ms Freeman had ben flipping a paring knife in her hands and he had taken it as a warning, so he took out the knife and began stabbing her.

He admitted he had stabbed her, but said he didn't know how many times.

An autopsy revealed a dozen wounds to her chest, abdomen, arm and leg.

Eustace's lawyer Patrick Tehan QC said emotions had been very high. He said Eustace's guilty plea was undervalued by the sentencing judge, and that Eustace could have gone to trial and argued self-defence.

"They both finished up armed and he immediately runs to the police, gives himself up, makes a full confession ... (and) gets no benefit for pleading guilty," he said.

The sentencing judge, Justice Lesley Taylor, described the killing as "brutal and utterly ruthless", but found his remorse had been genuine.

The Court of Appeal agreed the sentence was excessive and re-sentenced Eustace to 21 years behind bars.

He'll be eligible for parole after serving 16 years.

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