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Australia may return killer Briton

A British engineer has been jailed for killing his lover in Australia more than 26 years ago.

Stephen Hutton, now 56, from Farnborough, Hants, strangled Sandra White and set fire to her body in a caravan in rural Victoria.

Hutton, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, was extradited in 2009 to stand trial for killing Miss White, whose burnt remains were discovered on August 12 1985.

He was jailed for four years at Victoria Supreme Court in Melbourne after pleading guilty to manslaughter, a court official said. But due to the amount of time he has served in custody, he will be eligible for parole next week and could be sent back to Britain.

Hutton confessed to the killing after being detained in a London psychiatric hospital following a road accident in 1990.

Sentencing, Justice Osborn said: "Your confessions demonstrate that you have understood and acknowledged responsibility for her killing at recurrent points of time over the last 20 years.

"The evidence as a whole supports the view that you killed Miss White when affected by paranoid schizophrenia. You engaged in an unlawful and dangerous assault upon a woman who had given you trust and affection."

He added that Hutton, who specialised in sheet metal work, had not intended to kill the 34-year-old mother of one and his mind was "clouded by schizophrenia".

"As a result of your actions, you robbed a 14-year-old boy of his mother and blackened his perspective of the world at a vulnerable age," Justice Osborn continued. "You took him from a loving parent whom he still misses as a fundamental element of family life.

"You also took a dearly loved daughter from a loving mother and a loved sister from her brothers. The victim impact statements which have been read and tendered to the court express in heartfelt terms the lasting anguish your actions have caused them and the aching loss they still feel 26 years after Miss White's death."

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