Man who killed partner then burnt body has appeal dismissed
AS NOELENE Beutel lay drawing her last breaths in the carport beneath her Buderim home, the man who delivered a "10 out of 10" fatal punch did nothing to help her.
Instead of calling emergency services, her partner then used a wheelie bin to load her bloody dead body into the boot of a car with their 21-month-old daughter in the backseat.
He later removed the toddler from the car, doused it in petrol and set it alight in Tanawha bushland.
The Queensland Court of Appeal says these actions are inconsistent with Wayn Edward Raymond McClutchie's argument he did not intend to kill the former Toowoomba woman on June 29, 2011.
McClutchie argued in the appeal court there was insufficient evidence for the jury to convict him of murdering Ms Beutel, having told police he hit her once with maximum force but then blacked out until he was moving her body.
While a pathologist described multiple facial fractures consistent with many blows, the expert conceded a single punch with extreme force also could have driven the lower part of her face a centimetre to the right.
Justice Catherine Holmes, when she dismissed the appeal on Friday, said the jury was entitled to regard McClutchie not seeking help for Ms Beutel "as she lay drawing her last breaths as inconsistent with his having no intent to do her serious injury".
"They were entitled to consider that the evidence pointed convincingly away from any theory that he had acted entirely spontaneously, without thought to consequence," she said.
"Had the blow been impulsive, with the result entirely unintended, one might expect shock and a call to emergency services.
"Instead, as late as the point at which he was about to set fire to the car, he contemplated that she might still be alive, checking her pulse; but at no stage did he seek help for her."
McClutchie had previously threatened to kill and harm Ms Beutel with many witnesses testifying to previous violence at his trial.
He once joked Ms Beutel's body would be found in a burnt-out car if she left him and had stated previously he would respond violently if she tried to take their child away.
Ms Beutel had been planning to flee to family in Toowoomba to get away from him.
Justice Holmes said the "blow or blows" McClutchie delivered "were of massive proportions" and the jury could reasonably have concluded they were meant to cause substantial and serious injury.
"It was relevant that this was not an incident which occurred in a vacuum; the relationship was one of increasing hostility and aggression," she said.
"The jury was entitled from all of that evidence to decide that the only rational conclusion was one of intent to do grievous bodily harm, at the least."