A VICTORIAN Supreme Court Judge in Mildura called the Aboriginal community’s dependency on introduced substances such as alcohol and drugs as “a stain on us as a nation” when sentencing Bendigo man Darren Williams yesterday.
Mr Williams, 38, was sentenced to 17 and a half years imprisonment after pleading guilty to the murder of Garry Beggs, 65, and three months to be served concurrently for the theft of Mr Beggs’ Toyota station wagon.
Mr Williams admitted he drank a large quantity of alcohol before he stabbed Garry Beggs multiple times in the head, face, neck, chest and arms in the lounge room of Mr Begg’s Swan Hill home on September 28, 2011.
Justice Betty King said Mr Williams’ alcohol dependency was the key factor in this case, and in his “significant” criminal history.
“Your dependence upon alcohol is clearly the most significant factor in this offending,” she said.
She said it was a problem which affected many in the Aboriginal community.
“The decimation of the Aboriginal people as a result of introduced substances such as alcohol and drugs does not need repeating,” she said.
“It is a tragedy.
“It is a stain on us as a nation and it appears we are unable to find an answer to this insidious evil.”
The court heard Mr Williams had been sexually abused in his childhood and had convinced himself that Mr Beggs, who had given him a lift in his car a week before, had sexually assaulted him.
“I am satisfied that you genuinely believed that something like that either happened on the night or at some previous stage,” Ms King said.
But she said this did not excuse Mr Williams’ “violent, frenzied and continuous attack” on Mr Beggs.
“It would not in any way justify your horrific beating and stabbing of this man to death.
“It is a sad and tragic situation for all concerned.”
In sentencing, Ms King said she took into account Mr Williams’ plea of guilty, genuine remorse, sexual abuse as a child, and later drug and alcohol abuse.
Mr Williams will serve a minimum of 14 and a half years at a New South Wales prison, where he will be closer to his family, which are from Broken Hill.