The night before she died, Melbourne woman Maryanne Sikai asked her flatmate to change the lock on their door because she was afraid of her ex-boyfriend.
She and court security guard Isac Ayoul Daing had been in a relationship since 2011 but he had turned jealous and controlling, then violent.
He had told a friend of Ms Sikai the previous week, “One of us will leave this Earth”.
The lock on her Footscray flat was changed, but at around 1.20am on March 18 last year Daing smashed down the door and spent the night in Ms Sikai’s bed.
He sent a text message to Ms Sikai’s former fiance.
“I’m with Maryanne now what u gonna do (sic) Mather f***** I told u get out from our life,” it read.
Ms Sikai’s flatmates were woken by the sound of arguing and found her on the lounge-room floor, crying for help.
Daing picked up a chair, smashed it on her back, then picked up a leg of the broken chair and beat her with it.
He later said he acted with “white hot anger”.
Ms Sikai, 41, died later that day when Daing had already turned himself into police.
Daing, 36, pleaded guilty to her murder and on Monday was sentenced to 18 and a half years in prison, with a minimum of 14 years and six months to serve.
In sentencing on Monday, Victorian Supreme Court Justice Terry Forrest told the Ascot Vale man there was nothing brave about what he did.
“You beat Maryanne Sikai to a pulp,” Justice Forrest said.
“This was a cowardly attack upon a terrified, defenceless woman.”
He said Daing’s moral culpability was reduced because of his impaired mental functioning caused by post traumatic stress disorder from his cruel and appalling upbringing.
However, he noted Ms Sikai came from a disadvantaged background too.
The court had previously heard she was like a mother to her brother’s two daughters, and had a daughter of her own who was raised by her aunt.
Ms Sikai’s tearful relatives had asked for justice to be “fully served” for the crime.
Justice Forrest softened Daing’s sentence somewhat on account of his mental impairment, but said it was important courts deter powerful males from terrorising their female partners.
“If jealous, enraged bullies can be deterred, then we must try to do so,” Justice Forrest said.
Daing has served more than 500 days of a pre-sentence detention and will be eligible for parole in about 13 years.