NSW man jailed for pregnant woman’s murder

By the time she was 21 weeks pregnant, Kirralee Paepaerei had bought dresses and a new pram in readiness to welcome her baby girl Mia into the world.
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But neither she nor Mia would live to use them, her grieving family said on Friday after her killer was jailed for at least 22 years.

“That girl would have been a spoiled little thing. Very much loved,” Ms Paepaerei’s mother Joyce D’Ugo told reporters outside the NSW Supreme Court.

Joshua Homann, 40, was found guilty in March of murdering 37-year-old Ms Paepaerei by stabbing her nearly 50 times at Mount Druitt in September 2015, with the attack also resulting in the death of their unborn child.

The jury had rejected his defence of mental illness and partial defence of “substantial impairment of abnormality of the mind”.

Sentencing him to a maximum of 30 years in prison, Justice Lucy McCallum said the murder had involved an “extreme frenzy of violence”.

Homann had been experiencing psychosis at the time, at least in some part due to his regular use of the drug ice, the judge found.

That did not reduce his culpability for the crime, and that it was important to denounce “in the strongest terms” such a violent act committed by a chronic ice user, she said.

“Ice is a scourge. It is freely accessible and highly addictive.

“The experience of the courts is that it not infrequently makes ordinary people violent and irrational.”

It was also significant that the killing occurred in Ms Paepaeri’s own home.

She urged Ms Paepaerei’s family, some of whom wore shirts with her image on it in the courtroom, not to bear guilt for the offence, as some of them had earlier expressed in victim impact statements.

“Kirralee Paepaerei was killed within a short space of time, without warning, by a man her family was entitled to expect would keep her safe.”

Outside court, Ms Paepaerei’s stepfather Godwin D’Ugo said the sentencing was another step forward on a “long, hard road” for her family, but it would not bring her back.

“We’re going to miss her dearly,” he said.

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