Keeli Dutton murder: David Robert Francis Murray sentenced to 25 years’ jail

‘It was just a matter of time before that bloke did something really bad’: Keeli’s brother Darren, left, with her family outside the Supreme Court. Photo: Dallas KilponenShine A Light on domestic violence

“There can be no more serious breach of an apprehended violence order than to kill the person it’s designed to protect,” the judge declared.

But that, she said, was exactly what David Robert Francis Murray did.

On November 25, 2013, while under an order that supposedly forbade him from stalking, threatening or intimidating his 41-year-old partner Keeli Dutton, Murray stabbed her seven times in the back and then let her bleed to death face down on the floor.

After the murder, which occurred in the home they were sharing in the south-west Sydney suburb of Miller, Murray wrapped her in a bed sheet and attempted to clean up the blood with bleach.

“Such conduct is brutal, cowardly and inexcusable, particularly in the home they shared,” Justice Monika Schmidt said in sentencing Murray to a maximum of 25 years’ jail, with a minimum of 19 years, in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday.

“The tragic reality was that her death was an awful and lonely one. It is particularly terrible given that it happened at the hands of a loved one.”

The court heard that, the day after the murder, Murray admitted what he had done to the other man who shared the Miller flat, Daryl Cribb.

“I’ve knocked her, I’ve f—-n knocked her, I f—-n’ stabbed her seven times in the back and let her bleed to f—-n’ death,” he told Mr Cribb.

But when police arrived later that day after Mr Cribb called triple-0, Murray said he had not seen his partner for days.

When police found her body in the flat Murray blamed Mr Cribb, declaring  “it’s strange that he’s done that and then I get the blame”.

Mr Murray eventually pleaded guilty to the murder on the day his murder trial was due to start last month.

In addition to being under an AVO, Murray was on a good behaviour bond for the latest in a series of violent offences.

He spent a combined total of 17 years in jail for these offences which included multiple serious assaults and stalking with intent to intimidate.

It is the latest in a series of domestic violence murders in which the male killer was under an apprehended violence order taken out in an attempt to protect his female partner.

On July 2 Christopher Cullen was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years six months jail for cutting his wife Comrie’s throat in a southern Sydney carpark while under an interim AVO.

Speaking outside court on Thursday, Ms Dutton’s brother Darren Dutton said more needed to be done to protect women at risk from violent male partners.

“An AVO means you can’t be anywhere near them  – if it doesn’t do that then it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on,” he said.

“It was just a matter of time before that bloke did something really bad like this. When an AVO gets taken out they need to look at that stuff, the history.”

With time served Murray will be eligible for parole on November 25, 2032.

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