A Chinese man who brutally killed his brother-in-law in what a judge has described as the most horrific murder he had ever seen has been jailed for 21 years.
“In my 35 years’ involvement with the criminal law I have not encountered a crime as appallingly and gratuitously violent,” Justice Terry Forrest said.
The Supreme Court judge said Yeng Jun Wu had no remorse for his brutal attack with an axe or machete on Shao Qing “Victor” Chen.
“I regard the nature of the torture and execution of your brother-in-law as a substantial aggravating feature,” Justice Forrest told the 45-year-old, who was married to Mr Chen’s sister.
The judge said the subsequent defilement of Mr Chen’s body was another aggravating factor.
“This is an appalling crime and you must be punished for it,” Justice Forrest said.
The body of the Berwick plasterer, 41, was found by his father at his Endeavour Hills (a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) property on February 11 last year.
Mr Chen’s wife, Yan Yan Chen, cried in court as the judge described how Wu entered his bedroom as he slept in the early hours of the morning and began his attack, which continued downstairs.
A long, sharp weapon inflicted at least 40 cuts to Mr Chen’s head, before his brain was removed and placed adjacent to his body.
Justice Forrest said the victim’s hands and arms had been mutilated, lacerated and parts amputated as he tried to defend himself.
Ms Chen previously told the court the crime scene was “horrific”.
“I can never get out of my mind the blood splattered on the ceiling and having to clean my husband Victor’s blood off the walls and furniture,” she said.
Justice Forrest said no one noticed any acrimony between the men as they shared a dinner out and drinks at Mr Chen’s property hours before he was murdered.
The judge said a falling out years earlier about clients of the men’s similar plastering businesses did not provide a motive for the frenzied killing.
Mr Chen and his wife had also lent his killer more than a quarter of a million dollars after he was declared bankrupt.
Wu protested his innocence throughout his trial, pointing the finger at another of Mr Chen’s brothers-in-law.
But a jury found him guilty of the murder last month.
Crime scene evidence – including bloody shoe prints, DNA from blood drops and a broken Boss zipper – all pointed at Wu.
Police noticed Wu wore Boss clothing and had a wound on his hand when they interviewed him after the incident.
Justice Forrest said Wu’s not insignificant criminal history – which included firearms offences, driving offences and assault-related offences – paled in comparison to this crime.
He said the Chinese immigrant would be in his 60s – and his second and youngest child would be in his 30s – when Wu became eligible for parole.
Wu was sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment with a minimum term of 21 years.