National

Vic girlfriend killer’s jail time halved

By AAP Newswire

A man who beat his vulnerable girlfriend and left her for dead in a Melbourne apartment has had his jail sentence halved on appeal.

Alexander Freeburn killed 29-year-old Elizabeth Wilms, who had a mild intellectual disability, at his Kew home in 2016.

Freeburn, 30, was originally jailed for up to 25 years for Ms Wilms' murder but that conviction was later downgraded to manslaughter on appeal.

He was re-sentenced by Victoria's Court of Appeal on Wednesday to 12 years in jail, with a nine-year non-parole period.

Ms Wilms' body was found facedown and with more than 40 injuries at her boyfriend's apartment in July 2016, after meeting him in May on a dating website.

The victim had an intellectual disability, making her incredibly vulnerable in the short but abusive relationship. Freeburn was jealous, possessive and at times violent.

After launching a prolonged assault on Ms Wilms, Freeburn left her badly injured and helpless on the floor, packed his belongings and went to the house of another woman he also met online.

He said he had "lost control" and his girlfriend was "pretty hurt", but did not try and get her help.

Ms Wilms' body was found three days later, after her family reported her missing.

She had GHB in her system. This was found to have contributed to her death in the context of the severe injuries suffered.

"Elizabeth loved her family, music, dancing and singing and she loved her life. In turn, she was a cherished member of her family," three appeal judges said.

"All that Elizabeth wanted was to share the great love that she had with a loving partner, and to raise a family with him.

"During her lifetime, Elizabeth's parents, and family, did all that they could, and more, to protect her against the vulnerability that was associated with her mild intellectual impairment."

Freeburn twice offered to plead guilty to Ms Wilms' manslaughter before being found guilty by a jury of murdering her sometime between June 30 and July 2.

He appealed and the judges found it wasn't open for the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Freeburn intended to cause her really serious injury.

He had previous convictions for violent offences, used drugs and had a personality disorder and anger management problems at the time of the killing.

Before being being re-sentenced, Freeburn said he was extremely remorseful for what happened.

He has already served 212 days of his new jail term.