Mum says justice has been done
“Justice has been done.”
That was Margaret Dodd’s reaction outside the Supreme Court last week after the sexual predator who killed her daughter more than two decades ago was handed an unprecedented 18-year sentence for her manslaughter.
Justice Stephen Hall said Francis John Wark was entitled to a sentence considerably higher than any other previous sentence for the offence — 12 years — because the circumstances of the case placed it into the “worst type” of crimes of its kind.
“They’ve realised it for what it was, it was a horrific offence that he did,” Mrs Dodd said as she held her newborn great-granddaughter Violet, born on the day of the verdict.
“Hayley was only small, he would have overpowered her, the judge was spot on.”
Mrs Dodd said she agreed Wark’s crime was one of the worst cases of unlawful killing, saying:
“he has concealed her body and he won’t tell us where she is.”
Hayley, 17, was last seen alive hitchhiking near Badgingarra on July 29, 1999.
Mrs Dodd said she decided to read her harrowing victim impact statement to the court, pleading with Wark to tell her where her daughter’s body is — because she wanted him to “feel it”.
“I need to speak to him directly and let him know what he’s done to our family. He’s not only taken Hayley, he’s taken all our family with him,” she said. “But not a single reaction from him. A heart of stone.”
Mrs Dodd doubted whether Wark would ever provide the answers she and her family desperately wanted.
Mrs Dodd reiterated that she has had “no life” since Hayley vanished, detailing how her marriage had broken up, and her children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He’s affected all their lives. They are frightened for their own children,” she said. “Because everybody thinks ‘this won’t happen to you’ but it does happen to you and because it’s happened to our family, we are scared of it happening to another one of our family,” she said.
Mrs Dodd said she hoped to outlive Wark. “I want to know where Hayley is, and if he’s not going to tell us, I want him to go before I do so I can jump on his grave,” she said.
The mother said she was aware Wark may appeal.