A Perth man found guilty of murdering his girlfriend after her body was found in the boot of a car has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers may find upsetting.
- Shawn Newton was convicted of the murder in September
- Rebecca Gascoigne’s last moments were described as “agonising, prolonged and terrifying”
- Justice Corboy said Newton had a “callous disregard for her suffering”
Shawn Adam Newton was convicted of the July 2017 murder of Rebecca Jane Gascoigne in September after he had tried to claim he was framed for the crime by corrupt police.
At his sentencing hearing today, Justice Michael Corboy said Newton had committed “brutal” and “horrific acts of violence” against Ms Gascoigne.
Justice Corboy found Newton had suffocated Ms Gascoigne, using a sock, cling wrap and a plastic bag, after assaulting her and restraining her with cable ties.
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Victim’s last moments were ‘agonising’
The judge described Ms Gascoigne as “very vulnerable” and said her last moments were “agonising, prolonged and terrifying”.
He said Newton had “callous disregard for her suffering”.
Her body was discovered after Ms Gascoigne’s housemate flagged down police on the Mitchell Freeway.
The officers were attending an accident near Cedric Street.
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The housemate, Gavin Barr, said he had been forced by Newton to drive the dead woman and was a key witness in the trial.
There had been 23 injuries during the sustained assault in Mr Barr’s Scarborough unit, the court heard.
Justice Corboy said Newton had threatened to kill Mr Barr, who said he had witnessed the assault and saw Ms Gascoigne being rolled into a carpet.
Mr Barr had claimed Newton forced him to help dispose of Ms Gascoigne’s body.
But he escaped with the car after Newton got out and decided to drive to police headquarters before stopping on the freeway.
Newton was on the run for 10 days before police arrested him at a tavern in Hillarys, in northern Perth, where he was wearing a wig as a form of disguise while drinking a beer.
Newtown was in love with victim, court hears
Justice Corboy said before he killed her, Newton had strong feelings for Ms Gascoigne, at one point telling her he’d “never been so in love”.
But the relationship soured, with Ms Gascoigne saying she did not want Newton around the Scarborough unit.
Newton claimed he was framed for the murder, arguing in his trial his flatmate was the real killer.(Supplied: WA Police)
Justice Corboy said Newton had intended to kill her and tried to conceal what he had done.
During his closing sentencing remarks, the judge was interrupted by Newton several times, who yelled: “It’s clear you’re prejudiced”.
Justice Corboy warned him to keep quiet.
The boot of Shawn Newton’s car, where the body of his girlfriend Rebecca Gascoigne was found.(Supplied: WA Supreme Court)
The court heard Newton had a series of convictions going back 15 years, including for assault, armed robbery, burglary and dishonesty offences.
He sentenced the 45-year-old to two years each on convictions relating to the unlawful detention of Mr Barr and for threatening him.
They were to be served concurrently with the 25-year minimum sentence for murder, backdated to July 2017.
Killer a ‘moron and a murderer’, victim’s father says
Rebecca Gascoigne was repeatedly assaulted before her body was locked in the boot of the car.(Supplied: WA Police)
Outside court, Rebecca’s father Steve Gascoigne said there were “no winners”.
“I think he should be executed, that’s my opinion. He’s a cretin,” he said.
“They guy’s a moron and a murderer.”
He said he wanted his daughter to be remembered for the lovely person she was.
Police found Ms Gascoigne’s body in the boot of the car on Mitchell Freeway.(ABC News: Eliza Laschon)
Newton’s lawyer Terry Dobson flagged an appeal.
“I’ll be seeking counsel to review the transcript with a view to identifying any grounds of appeal against conviction and or sentence,” he said.
“He does maintain his innocence.
“He’s firm that he wasn’t there and he played no part in it.”
Mr Dobson said Newton believed he had been treated unfairly and this was shown by his “unfortunate” outburst in court.