NSW teacher Stephanie Scott’s killer has finally got what he deserves.
Vincent Stanford has been condemned to spend the rest of his life in prison for the brutal rape and murder of NSW teacher Stephanie Scott, reports 9news.
Stanford, 25, was given the maximum possible sentence for the April 2015 attack on the 26-year-old bride-to-be, just six days before she was due to marry.
Exclamations of “yes” were heard from the Griffith courthouse public gallery when Supreme Court Justice Robert Allan Hulme handed down his sentence on Thursday.
Justice Hulme said he was satisfied beyond any doubt that Stanford’s culpability was extreme enough to warrant a life sentence.
“I am satisfied that this is a case of murder that clearly falls within the worst category,” he said.
Ms Scott’s parents, siblings, former fiance Aaron Leeson-Woolley and other family members were all present in court.
Her mother Merrilyn Scott said the family would celebrate what would have been her daughter’s 28th birthday on Friday.
“The past 18 months have been the most difficult and harrowing time,” she said in a gut-wrenching statement outside court.
“So much has been taken away from us. Stephanie has had everything taken away from her.”
Stanford, a school cleaner, confessed to murdering Ms Scott on Easter Sunday, 2015, at the Leeton High School where they both worked.
He dragged her into a storeroom and attacked her with his fists and a large knife before dumping her body 70km away in the Cocoparra National Park, where he burned it.
Justice Hulme described Stanford’s actions as conniving, callous and calculating.
“The attack itself involved extremes brutality by a man of substantial size… upon a defenceless young woman of modest size who had no means of escape or raising the alarm,” he said.
During his summary of the case, Justice Hulme also outlined how Stanford had stalked two women and a 12-year-old schoolgirl before he killed Ms Scott.
Police found more than 1800 images of the schoolgirl in Stanford’s possession, and surveillance notes in an exercise book that included times she was home alone, the court heard.
Justice Hulme said Stanford’s internet search history and bloodstained items found in his wardrobe, including a pair of handcuffs, suggested the attack on Ms Scott was more premeditated than he had admitted.
The judge said he had grave concerns “that the truth has not been fully disclosed and that this was not an opportunistic attack on a target selected at random”.
— Kelly Fedor (@KellyFedor) October 12, 2016
Story: Vincent Stanford sentenced to life in jail for rape and murder of NSW schoolteacher Stephanie Scott https://t.co/suLd8mjJEZ
— ABC News (@abcnews) October 12, 2016
Finally justice has been served.
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