A Melbourne man jailed for three decades for the stabbing murder of his ex-wife, in what a judge labelled “family violence of the most extreme kind”, has had his conviction upheld.
Fernando Paulino, 56, stabbed his former wife of 23 years, Teresa Mancuso, at least 16 times in the chest, abdomen and back in the garage of her elderly mother’s home at Reservoir in 2013.
Sentencing judge Kevin Bell found the murder had been driven by the jealousy, hatred and rage of a man determined to punish Ms Mancuso for the new life she had chosen without him.
Court of Appeal justices Phillip Priest, David Beach and Stephen Kaye on Wednesday found there had been errors and irregularities in how the prosecution closed its case against Paulino at a trial last year.
On those grounds they agreed to grant Paulino leave to appeal his conviction, but went on to reject his efforts.
They said in the face of strong, “if not overpowering”, evidence against Paulino’s planned and premeditated murder of Ms Mancuso, those errors and irregularities would not have changed the outcome of the trial.
They said Paulino had been obsessive about Ms Mancuso after their separation, following and stalking her, fixating on extra-marital affairs he believed she had and telling her and others that he would kill her.
“The ferocity of the attack on Teresa had bespoken some underlying emotional pathology on the part of the killer, such as some deep-seated and searing hatred of her by the killer,” they said in a joint judgment.
Justice Bell said in sentencing Paulino last year that Ms Mancusa was courageous and despite her former husband’s attempts to exercise coercive control over her, post-separation life was “active, growing and free”.
“Once again the court and community have to confront the ugly reality that there are men who would kill their wives or other intimate partners because they think they can, regardless of the consequences for family and friends,” he said.
Ms Mancuso’s relatives, including sons Daniel and Luke, had been “absolutely traumatised” by her death, he noted.
Paulino was last year sentenced to a minimum 25 years in prison before he’s eligible for parole.
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