You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Sydney refugee's killing sentence outcry

AAP logoAAP 16/09/2016 Margaret Scheikowski

A refugee who was tortured in his native Ethiopia has been jailed for at least five years for killing his wife, a sentence that prompted screams and wails from her inconsolable family.

Asnaku Kebede Eshete, who was holding a large photo of her daughter Wubanchi Asfaw, howled and yelled out in the Ethiopian language Amharic outside the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

"This lady has never stopped crying for the last two years," said family friend Meskerem Tesfaye, who described the sentence as "a joke".

Solomon Hailu Jenbare, 52, who suffers from major depression and chronic PTSD, was acquitted of murdering his 25-year-old wife in their Sydney flat in November 2014.

Instead the jury found him guilty of the less serious offence of manslaughter based on the partial defence of substantial impairment due to an abnormalilty of the mind.

In setting a maximum term of nine years, Justice Lucy McCallum said Ms Asfaw's death had caused intense pain and grief and acknowledged the sentence "will not bring redress" to the family.

Jenbare stabbed his wife seven or eight times after they argued when she had been on the phone for several hours to her mother in Ethiopia.

Ms Asfaw said she was going to arrange a fake marriage to a nephew so he could come and live in Australia.

"(Jenbare) didn't agree to the marriage because he was her husband, and as a Christian he would not make a false declaration," the judge said.

Jenbare had been preparing food and was holding the knife used during the subsequent struggle, which ended with the heavily bleeding woman leaving the flat and collapsing on the footpath.

"She must have died in intense pain and fear," the judge said.

She noted psychiatric evidence that Jenbare's capacity to control himself, to understand events and to judge whether his actions were right or wrong were substantially impaired by his PTSD and depression.

The psychiatric disorders leading to the loss of control significantly reduced his moral culpability.

Jenbare was a political prisoner for eight months in Ethiopia, where he was tortured, witnessed deaths and was left with deformed hands.

He also has feet deformities caused by leprosy and suffered further trauma in refugee camps in Kenya and Somalia, before coming to Australia as a refugee in 1999.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon