Pizza-eating killer could walk from jail in nine years

A man who ate pizza while his partner slowly died from his violent bashing after years of abuse could be released from prison in less than nine years.

Robert Rickerby, 30, was on Friday jailed for 15 years and six months for the manslaughter of Jessica Geddes in Melbourne's southeast.

But he could be released even sooner as he will be eligible for parole after 11 years and has already spent just over two years behind bars.

Robert Rickerby arrives at court
Robert Rickerby has been sentenced to 15 years and six months in prison. (Diego Fedele/AAP PHOTOS)

Supreme Court Justice James Elliott described the attack as vicious and abhorrent as he handed down the sentence.

"You have brutally taken the life of someone who trusted you," he told Rickerby, who remained emotionless throughout the sentencing hearing.

Between 2.40pm and 5.55pm on November 6, 2020, Rickerby violently punched, kicked or hit Ms Geddes, the court was told.

He then went to collect two takeaway pizzas, leaving the 27-year-old woman to slowly die in the bedroom of their Endeavour Hills property.

"You failed to get her the medical attention she so desperately needed," Justice Elliott said.

"You made the decision to leave the home when she was alone and suffering, if not already dead."

Rickerby ate several pieces of pizza when he returned home and called his parents, who encouraged him to phone triple zero.

He finally called an ambulance after 30 minutes, but Ms Geddes was already dead when paramedics arrived.

A forensic examiner found she would have been dead for at least half an hour by the time she was assessed.

Ms Geddes died of complications from fractures and other injuries caused by Rickerby's assault.

"Jessica's death was not rapid - her physical state declined probably over hours," Justice Elliott said.

"By the time you left to get the pizzas, she would not have been able to walk or talk properly."

The judge pointed to Rickerby's repeated lies to police, where he claimed Ms Geddes was conscious and well when he left for the pizzas and that there had been no violence in their relationship.

Justice Elliott said it was accepted the assault that led to Ms Geddes was not an isolated incident.

Ms Geddes was subjected to years physical and verbal abuse from Rickerby before her death, the court was told.

Justice Elliott noted she had issues with drugs and her mental health, which made her more vulnerable.

Rickerby was bigger and stronger than Ms Geddes, and he took advantage of their relative isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the judge said.

At the time of her death, she weighed only 46kg.

He said domestic violence was a scourge on society and "abhorrent" cases like this one needed to be denounced in the strongest terms.

"Nothing could be suggested to justify or excuse your gross misconduct," Justice Elliott said.

He noted Rickerby had limited prior convictions but said his prospects of rehabilitation were guarded.

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