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Killer husband Christopher Cullen jailed for 30 years

By Claire McNeilly

Published 03/07/2015

Christopher Cullen
Christopher Cullen
Victoria Comrie Cullen who was murdered by her estranged husband Christopher Cullen in a ‘frenzied’ knife attack

A man who stabbed his Northern Ireland wife to death in a "ferocious" attack in Australia has been sentenced to 30 years in jail for her murder.

Christopher Cullen (53) expressed no emotion as Judge Ian Harrison said he would serve 22 years and six months without parole.

The judge said he believed Cullen had intended to kill Victoria Comrie Cullen, who was originally from Bangor, when he bought two sharp fishing knives.

The 39-year-old's battered body was found slumped forward, face down in a kneeling position with her arms in front of her and her head on the ground.

Her throat was cut and she sustained multiple stab and slicing wounds to her body as well as blunt force injuries.

In the New South Wales Supreme Court yesterday, the judge said the victim's death at the hands of her husband was a tragic example of "the malignant cycle of domestic violence" which, despite widespread publicity, does not seem to be abating in society.

Justice Harrison said Cullen had not expressed remorse or contrition for murdering his wife in a "ferocious and sustained attack".

"I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Cullen intended to kill the deceased," he said.

"The nature and number of her wounds makes it plain she was ferociously attacked.

"The death of the deceased is another example of the extremely prevalent violence perpetrated by men in our society towards women to whom they are married or with whom they share a relationship of domestic intimacy."

Last month Cullen was found guilty of the murder of the mother-of-three at St George and Sutherland Shire Anglers' Club in south Sydney on January 22 last year.

She was killed a few months after the breakdown of the couple's marriage.

On the same day they had been involved in civic proceedings in Sutherland Local Court over damage to Cullen's car.

Cullen followed his estranged wife home, assaulted her, forced her into his car and drove to a store in Tarren Point where be bought two knives and a black T-shirt.

The court heard he then drove to the deserted fishing club car park where he unleashed a "ferocious" and "frenzied" fatal knife attack on the beauty therapist.

Cullen did not deny killing his wife.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of provocation and self-defence.

However, this was rejected outright by a jury after a three-week trial.

The court heard Cullen had also inflicted knife wounds on himself.

During sentencing submissions, the court heard that Cullen, a carpenter from Liverpool, had served several prison sentences in England for violent crimes, including an assault with a knuckleduster.

The couple married in 2000 and separated in late 2013.

Following the marriage breakdown, Ms Cullen was subjected to violence and threats.

On November 1, 2013, Cullen went to the beauty salon in Sylvania Waters where his estranged wife was working and put up signs saying she was sleeping with her clients.

He suspected she was in a sexual relationship with another man, and the pair exchanged heated text messages.

For a short period after she moved out of the family home, Ms Cullen stayed with a man she had met at a nightclub.

Ten days later, the police applied for and were granted a provisional Apprehended Violence Order on behalf of Ms Cullen.

Outside the court yesterday Christina Arciuli, Ms Cullen's close friend and boss at the beauty salon, said it was "a great result".

She added: "Her family will have at least some solace in this."

Cullen will be eligible for parole in 2036.

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