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Jailed man faces spearing for SA killing

AAP logoAAP 13/10/2016 Rick Goodman

A man who bashed his girlfriend to death in outback South Australia faces a traditional Aboriginal spearing after he serves more than 20 years in jail for manslaughter and rape.

Danny Ferguson has been convicted over the killing of 34-year-old Serena Amos near Oodnadatta in July 2015.

The 36-year-old was on Thursday jailed for 15 years with a 12-year non-parole period and was also declared a serious repeat offender.

He also faces more than 11 years behind bars for two counts of rape and aggravated assault committed in the Northern Territory.

But this time behind bars is not the only retribution coming Ferguson's way as a result of his crimes.

"I am told that you will be liable to traditional tribal punishment - being speared five times in each leg - upon your eventual release," Justice Ann Vanstone told the Port Augusta Supreme Court.

Ferguson agreed to receive the spearing but this did not reduce his prison time.

"So much time will have passed before you are released that I do not consider that this can affect my sentence," Justice Vanstone said.

Ferguson beat Ms Amos repeatedly at a remote campsite in the final days of her life and when he realised she was dead he fled into the bush on foot, sparking a widespread outback search.

Justice Vanstone said it was as extremely serious case of manslaughter that followed a prolonged period of violence and degradation.

"You took the victim away from her home and family and treated her inhumanely," she said.

"She must have died in a state of profound fear and pain, powerless to get away from you."

Ms Amos suffered dozens of soft-tissue injuries that caused her to bleed internally, leading to acute kidney failure.

Ferguson drove her lifeless body from the campsite to a nurse's clinic in Oodnadatta. He lied to the nurses, telling them Ms Amos had been raped by another person and had taken an overdose of pills.

When the nurses couldn't bring his girlfriend back to life, Ferguson fled into the outback on foot.

Aboriginal trackers, sniffer dogs and planes were brought in to help with the police search. He was arrested 110km north of Oodnadatta four days later.

Ferguson has a history of violence against women and of running away, the court heard.

When he killed Ms Amos, he was supposed to be in prison for bashing and raping another woman in the Northern Territory in 2013.

But he had absconded from court in that matter and was later sentenced in his absence to at least 11 years and six months in jail.

Justice Vanstone said Ferguson's NT offending was also horrific and was also against a person he was in a relationship with.

"You effectively kept her prisoner, beating her, raping her, tying her up and belittling her. She eventually escaped and fled for help," the judge said.

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