SMIL­ING AS­SAS­SIN

Devenna found guilty of cold- blooded mur­der

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - SA­MAN­THA HEALY sa­man­tha. healy@ news. com. au

VIC­TIM’S FAM­ILY THRILLED BY VER­DICT

A FOR­MER soldier found guilty of the “pre­med­i­tated and cold­blooded” mur­der of his ex- part­ner will be sen­tenced to­day.

A jury took just 2 ½ hours yesterday to find Ky­nan Wat­ego Devenna, 32, guilty of mur­der­ing Sarah­jane Dower, 26, in Ayr on Septem­ber 1, 2012.

In clos­ing sub­mis­sions to the Townsville Supreme Court yesterday, crown pros­e­cu­tor Ja­cob Rob­son re­cited Devenna’s ear­lier con­fes­sion: “I wanted her dead.”

“With those words the ac­cused an­swered the only ques­tion we need an­swered,” Mr Rob­son said.

“His con­fes­sion re­vealed a plan of pre­med­i­tated and cold blooded mur­der.”

Devenna pleaded guilty to man­slaugh­ter as his trial opened on Mon­day, but Mr Rob­son re­fused to down­grade the mur­der charge.

The vet­eran also pleaded guilty to interfering with a corpse and two counts of ar­son.

The court heard Ms Dower met with Devenna at his mother’s house to dis­cuss their two sons on Septem­ber 1, 2012.

Mr Rob­son said Devenna came up be­hind his ex- part­ner, stabbed her in the neck and held her down as she gasped for breath.

He said Devenna told her “you’re go­ing to die, I’m not call­ing an am­bu­lance” and then stabbed her a sec­ond time when her death took too long.

“He wanted more time with the chil­dren so he killed their mother,” Mr Rob­son said.

Mr Rob­son said Devenna grabbed a blan­ket and re­moved the body from the house, drove Ms Dower’s util­ity to High Range and doused it, and her body, in fuel be­fore light­ing it.

He re­turned the fol­low­ing day, and set fire to the ve­hi­cle a sec­ond time.

Mr Rob­son said Devenna’s fi­nal con­fes­sion came af­ter his ef­forts to cover up the crime un­rav­elled.

“He asked Jody ( his wife) to lie for him,” Mr Rob­son said. “He con­fessed to keep her out of it.”

Jody Marie Viero, 32, was sen­tenced in the Townsville Supreme Court in April af­ter ly­ing to po­lice.

The Townsville Bul­letin can now re­veal that Viero was sen­tenced to one year’s im­pris­on­ment, wholly sus­pended for three years.

Bar­ris­ter Har­vey Wal­ters, for Devenna, ar­gued his client was not ra­tio­nal at the time of the killing.

Mr Wal­ters spoke at length about Devenna’s men­tal health fol­low­ing de­ploy­ments to East Ti­mor and Afghanistan.

He sug­gested that Devenna may have gone in to “army mode”, re­fer­ring to his use of the words “im­mo­bilised her” dur­ing a po­lice in­ter­view and his de­ci­sion to drive to High Range to burn the body.

MUR­DERER: A Supreme Court jury yesterday found Ky­nan Wat­ego Devenna guilty of the stab­bing mur­der of his ex­part­ner and mother of his chil­dren, Sarah­jane Dower ( right) in 2012.

Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

SEEK­ING JUS­TICE: The par­ents of Sarah­jane Dower, Ap­polo­nia and John McDon­nell, af­ter yesterday’s ver­dict. Sarah­jane Dower.

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