The parents of an Australind man stabbed and killed in January said yesterday they were “relieved” his 29-year-old girlfriend was found guilty of manslaughter — but nothing would bring back their son.
A Supreme Court jury in Bunbury found Rachael Elizabeth Boyd, 29, not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Trent John Panizza, 29.
Justice Stephen Hall jailed Boyd, a pharmacy assistant, for five years and seven months for the “quick, thoughtless act in the heat of the moment”.
The four-day trial in Bunbury was told Boyd picked up a knife at their Leschenault Parade home during a heated and escalating argument over domestic matters, including Mr Panizza’s drinking and refusal go to her parents’ home to pay bills online.
Boyd claimed she only wanted to ward Mr Panizza off but he “stepped on to” the knife”.
Justice Hall said it was implausible that Mr Panizza impaled himself and found it was a deliberate act, though not intended to kill.
“You were increasingly angry at Trent Panizza over incidents such as his paying bills, leaving blinds open and smoking inside … There was anger on both sides,” he said.
“Anger flared to such a point that you began to throw objects, including cat food, you threw pans. Then you picked the knife up and struck him … It was a deliberate act.”
Justice Hall accepted that Boyd was extremely upset after Mr Panizza called her a whore and referred to a hurtful episode.
But he found the move to strike Mr Panizza with a knife, even with mild force, was a “willed act … not a terrible accident”.
Justice Hall said Boyd had no criminal history, co-operated with police, was deeply remorseful and had shown profound grief.
He acknowledged she had been struggling with illness and depression at the time of the death and had suicidal thoughts caused in part by frustrations over the relationship.
Boyd’s sentence was backdated to March and she will be eligible for parole.
Speaking outside, Mr Panizza’s parents John and Kaylene paid tribute to their “gorgeous, loving, thoughtful and caring Trent”.
“We live without you and your uncanny sense of humour and charm,” Mr Panizza said.
“People talk about closure but we will never have any closure because we can’t have our son back.
“It’s a relief today, it’s been nine months since it happened, but we’ll never get our son back.
“Going to hearings every day has been like going to a funeral every day of the week.