A man convicted last week for the reckless manslaughter of his wife had three previous convictions for assault against her and another for assault against his father.
A Domestic Violence Order was in place to protect his wife from him but this didn’t stop Sebastian Kunoth from brutally assaulting her at Abbott’s Camp on Christmas Day 2012. Both were “highly intoxicated”. He became jealous when he saw her dancing with other men. He punched her, kicked her, dragged her out of the house, brought down on her head a broken piece of concrete weighing almost two kilograms and beat her over the head with a stick.
He then put the concrete block in a tree and walked away. She was bleeding profusely and an ambulance was called. She stopped breathing while being treated by paramedics but was revived. She died in hospital on December 28 as a result of her injuries.
He was 19 at the time, she was 22.
Mr Kunoth initially denied the more serious aspects of his attack. He did not enter a guilty plea to manslaughter until after he was ordered to stand trial for murder, following a committal hearing last October.
Taking into account the plea, Chief Justice Trevor Riley sentenced him to gaol for nine years and six months, with a non-parole period of seven years.
The Chief Justice noted that by his guilty plea Mr Kunoth had accepted responsibility for his conduct. He regarded him as “not without prospects for rehabilitation” given his young age.
The court had heard that Mr Kunoth had started drinking at age 15 as well as smoking marijuana. He fathered his first child at age 16 and by the time of the fatal assault on his second wife, had two children with her.
At about age 15 he lost his twin brother to illness and about two years later lost an older brother to suicide.
As a youth he had witnessed alcohol fuelled violence between members of his extended family. There were also ongoing family feuds, some of which was over royalty payments and led to a series of violent altercations.
He had never worked although he had completed a pre-vocational course shortly before the fatal attack on his wife and had his name on a jobs waiting list. Also shortly before, as a result of breaching the conditions of a suspended sentence, he had been ordered into rehabilitation at DASA. He was evicted because he consumed marijuana.
– Kieran Finnane