Bru­tal killers have ap­peals thrown out

The West Australian - - NEWS - Tim Clarke

The cold-blooded killers of fa­ther Travis Mills, in­clud­ing his part­ner and her mother, have had ap­peals against their mur­der con­vic­tions and sen­tences thrown out.

In April 2015, 30-year-old Mr Mills was con­fronted by strangers in his Seville Grove home, who bru­tally bashed him and then burnt him alive in the boot of his car.

A Supreme Court trial heard the plan to mur­der Mr Mills was ini­ti­ated by his girl­friend’s mother, Joanne Ruth­salz, and was ruth­lessly ex­e­cuted with the help of his part­ner Seleena Ruth­salz.

The jury heard how Mr Mills did not like Joanne Ruth­salz be­cause of her long-term drug deal­ing and in­ter­fer­ing na­ture, and she made no se­cret of the fact that the feel­ing was mu­tual.

The Ruth­salz women whipped up a “frenzy of false ac­cu­sa­tions and lies” about Mr Mills, telling friend Jus­tine Camp­bell, a pre­vi­ous vic­tim of se­ri­ous do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, that he was abu­sive.

Act­ing un­der a mis­guided be­lief that she had to pro­tect Seleena and her baby Ruby, Camp­bell re­cruited the help of her hus­band Dar­ren and friend Dar­ryl New­ton.

Mr Mills had just put to­gether a tram­po­line for Ruby’s first birth­day when the men opened his door with Seleena’s keys and vi­ciously at­tacked him.

Af­ter a lengthy trial, all five were con­victed of mur­der, sen­tenced to a com­bined to­tal of at least 106 years in jail. The five ap­pealed against ei­ther their con­vic­tions, their sen­tences, or both.

Yes­ter­day, in a lengthy judg­ment, all the ap­peals were dis­missed, with a Court of Ap­peal panel re­it­er­at­ing Joanne Ruth­salz was the master­mind of the mur­der.

“Joanne Ruth­salz was the pri­mary in­sti­ga­tor of the plan to kill Travis Mills,” the judges said.

“Although she may have been un­aware of the par­tic­u­lar mech­a­nism . . . Joanne Ruth­salz was nev­er­the­less mo­rally and legally cul­pa­ble for the act of killing, in­clud­ing the mech­a­nism by which it oc­curred.”

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