Prison for vet’s cruel tormentor
AN ice addict who hogtied a war veteran, watched his accomplice stab him 13 times in the back then left the victim to die on his 90th birthday, has been jailed for at least 23 years.
Adam Lucas Williamson pleaded guilty to murder, aggravated burglary and theft over the death of Ken Handford at his Springbank farmhouse near Ballarat in September 2015.
In the Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Jane Dixon said even though Williamson, 40, did not deliver the fatal blows, he was the “driving force” behind the attack on the adored grandfather, an RAAF pilot during World War II.
High on ice, Williamson and Jonathon Jeffrey Cooper woke Mr Handford after they broke in to his home to steal cash to feed their drug habits.
Their victim was tied with the cord of his own dressing gown, before Cooper repeatedly stabbed him as he struggled and cried out.
They then ransacked his home looking for valuables. They stole $3900 cash, jewel- lery and treasured war medals. Their victim’s pacemaker revealed he did not die for at least another four hours.
Williamson and Mr Handford had had a disagreement while working together potato harvesting. And Williamson knew his elderly victim always carried cash with him.
“You exploited your knowledge of the deceased,” Justice Dixon told him. “Your conduct was brutal and cowardly.”
She sentenced Williamson to 27 years’ jail, with a non-parole period of 23 years.
Mr Handford’s family was left devastated last year when Justice Dixon sentenced Cooper, 29, to just 16 years, with a 13-year non-parole period, for the killing. After collecting more than 30,000 signatures on a petition, the family successfully begged the Director of Public Prosecutions to lodge an appeal over the sentence.
In February, the Court of Appeal increased Cooper’s jail term by eight years, saying the original was “manifestly inadequate”. He was ordered to serve 24 years, with a minimum of 20.
Outside court yesterday, Mr Handford’s family said Williamson’s sentence was “more appropriate” than what Justice Dixon had given to Cooper.
Leah Handford, one of Mr Handford’s five grandchildren, said justice had been served.
“They are both equally responsible for what happened that night, but certainly it wouldn’t have happened without Williamson,” she said.
“We now have an opportunity to properly grieve a much-loved man. He was a larrikin. Always up for a laugh. One of the most generous people you’d ever meet.”