A Sydney man has been jailed for at least 19 years for the murder of his wife, who he claimed had killed herself by jumping on a knife.
In June a jury found Gavin John De Beyer guilty of murdering his partner of 30 years, Sharon Louise Michelutti, while he was subject to an apprehended violence order in February 2016.
The New South Wales Supreme Court’s Acting Justice Peter Hidden on Thursday sentenced the 52-year-old to a maximum sentence of 25 years and a non-parole period of 19 years.
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Gavin John De Beyer was filmed weeping in Campsie police station after murdering his wife
Gavin John De Beyer has been sentenced to a minimum 19 years’ jail for murdering his wife
The killer was captured on CCTV weeping on the floor of a police station as he told officers his 48-year-old wife had died after jumping on a knife.
De Beyer was seen entering Campsie police station in Sydney’s south-west on February 1 last year as he reported Sharon Louise Michelutti’s death.
He later pleaded not guilty to murdering the mother-of-five at their Riverwood home.
A number of police testified during De Beyer’s trial about seeing a sobbing De Beyer in the police station about midday on the day Ms Michelutti died.
As he cried uncontrollably, saying ‘she’s dead,’ he slumped onto the floor.
Senior Constable Vanessa Bolas said she heard moaning and loud sobbing before she saw a man curled up in a fetal position.
Sharon Louise Michelutti was stabbed to death in the home she shared with her husband
When she bent down she recognised him ‘from previous dealings with him and his family over the past 10 years.’
The jury was shown the CCTV footage, which did not record sound, of De Beyer going into the foyer, and then lying on the floor.
De Beyer was taken to another area where he slumped on a sofa, getting up and down. He continued to sob saying his wife was dead.
Senior Constable Bill Moussa-Khalil told the jury he heard the man say: ‘She was holding a knife and she jumped on it.’
Sergeant Bartholomew Ganaine heard him say: ‘My baby is dead, she killed herself, I tried to save her.’
Another officer testified that he had previously attended the couple’s house in relation to domestic incidents between De Beyer and his wife.
Gavin John De Beyer, in red shirt, was filmed weeping in a police station after killing his wife
Killer Gavin John De Beyer was filmed reporting to police his wife had stabbed herself to death
Ms Michelutti, who died of a single stab wound, was found on her bed with the covers pulled over her whole body.
The last time the couple’s daughter Kalyra spoke to her mother she sounded normal, but her father was screaming in the background, the jury heard.
The couple did not have a happy relationship, Crown Prosecutor Ken McKay told the court.
Their daughter told police she spoke to her mother on the phone around 10am the day she died.
From 10.18am to 10.21am, CCTV footage showed De Beyer, wearing distinctive clothing including a yellow and green shirt, at a Riverwood supermarket.
At 10.42am, the dead woman’s phone was used to dial triple zero, but the call did not connect.
Gavin John De Beyer pictured after murdering his wife Sharon in the couple’s Riverwood home
Footage from outside another building showed De Beyer, in different clothing, walking past about 10.53am.
‘At about 12 noon, the accused entered Campsie police station, told police his wife was dead and that she had inflicted the wound to herself,’ Mr McKay told the jury.
Between the time he left home and spoke to police, there was no evidence that he tried to get help, or speak to a family member or neighbour to alert them to his wife’s condition.
Defence lawyer Angus Webb told the jury his client denied inflicting the stab wound and did not concede he was present when it happened.
Neighbour Lissa Elzein testified that she often heard the couple arguing, that they both used alcohol and marijuana, and she had seen police at their house.
Once when they were arguing on the footpath and De Beyer was walking ahead of his wife, she heard him say: ‘Hurry up, you dog, woof woof.’