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Tomahawk killer gets life for grandmother s murder
Margaret Bromley, murdered in her Mandurah home.

A Cooloongup man will spend at least two decades behind bars for bludgeoning his former neighbour to death with a tomahawk when the Mandurah grandmother caught him breaking into her home.

Margaret Bromley's granddaughter Rachael Dawe said this morning it had been a distressing two-and-a-half years for her family waiting for her grandmother's killer to be sentenced.

"It's been two-and-a-half years since my grandmother was brutally murdered, it's even harder for my dad and his brothers and sisters," she said outside the Supreme Court this morning.

"The whole situation tears us apart that this inhumane act can take someone's life."

Colin Peter Casey, 52, had been on a four day methamphetamine binge when he went to the home of 73-year-old Mrs Bromley on October 8, 2010 to steal money to fuel his drug habit but he "panicked" and attacked her when she confronted him and threatened to call to police.

Casey hit Mrs Bromley twice to the back of the head with a tomahawk and he covered the dying grandmother with carpets before stealing jewellery and fleeing her Thomson Street home.

Her body was found by a relative the following day. She had died from her head injuries, a post-mortem revealed.

It took police almost a year to catch Casey and charge him with Mrs Bromley’s murder.

Casey, who pleaded guilty to murdering Mrs Bromley, was this morning handed a life sentence with a minimum of 20 years.

Supreme Court Justice Eric Heenan said it was "shocking crime" where a defenceless woman was murdered in the sanctity of her own home.

He said the attack had been unexpected, unprovoked and without warning and Casey had shown an "inhumane" and "selfish disregard" for the welfare of Mrs Bromley.

The Supreme Court was previously told that less than a month after the murder, Casey told a Mandurah newspaper he had previously lived next door to Mrs Bromley in an article where he was speaking out against increasing violence in the community after he was allegedly attacked with a bottle, the court was told.

The paper quoted an “emotional” Casey talking about his senseless attack and how he could have been killed.

“I’ve been walking around Mandurah for years but I don’t think I can anymore,” Casey was quoted as saying.

This morning Justice Heenan said Casey had "gone about his business" with no sign of regret, responsibility or remorse for the grandmother's murder.

He said Casey's protestations that he was remorseful for the murder were incompatible with his actions at the time.

The court was told Casey's life began to deteriorate five years ago as he descended in a methamphetamine addiction which destroyed his career.

Outside court, Miss Dawe said drugs were no excuse for anyone to commit such a crime.

"I hope Mr Casey gets what he deserves for my family's sanity and my grandmother's peace," she said.

"He'll be 73 when he gets out and my grandmother was 73 when she was murdered so it's a bit of closure to our family but nothing can heal the heartache. It's torn our family apart. Nothing can bring her back. Ever."

Casey was also jailed for seven years for a 2009 aggravated robbery. He will serve that sentence while he serves his jail term for Mrs Bromley's murder.