A Victorian man who stabbed the mother of his four children to death in broad daylight was supposed to love her, not murder her, her family say.
Craig McDermott, 39, was found guilty in May of murdering ex-partner Fiona Warzywoda outside a Sunshine shopping centre in April 2014.
The murder happened after the pair had left a nearby court which had just finalised an order banning McDermott from approaching Ms Warzywoda.
“He has breached that order in spectacular fashion by arming himself with a knife and moving quickly towards her as soon as he sees her,” prosecutor Brendan Kissane QC told a Victorian Supreme Court plea hearing on Friday.
Ms Warzywoda and McDermott had separated in February 2014 after 18 years together.
On April 16, they each attended Sunshine Magistrates Court, where Ms Warzywoda told court staff McDermott had approached her and said “you’re f***ed”.
After the hearing, she went to visit her solicitor and as she returned to her car outside a shopping centre, McDermott stabbed her to death.
At trial, the Crown said McDermott had bought a kitchen knife from a discount store before sitting at a cafe to keep watch for his ex-partner.
“The thought of her life coming down to 32 seconds and $4 is hard to swallow,” her brother, Paul Judge, said in a victim impact statement to the court on Friday.
“You were supposed to love her.”
Ms Warzywoda’s younger sister, Jolene, said the murder has left her heartbroken.
“I feel like a part of me died when Fiona died,” she said in her victim statement.
Two of the couple’s children say they tried to kill themselves after their mother’s murder.
During his trial, McDermott gave evidence Ms Warzywoda came at him with a knife and he put his hand out to block it, before a struggle ensued.
Defence counsel John Desmond on Friday said the Crown has not proven beyond reasonable doubt McDermott had bought, or planned to buy, the knife used to murder Ms Warzywoda.
He urged Justice Jane Dixon not to accept the Crown’s submission this was an aggravating factor when sentencing McDermott.
He will be sentenced in July.
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