Melbourne: A 21-year-old Australian man was on Friday sentenced to 45 years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of 30 years for the "planned and premeditated" rape and murder of Indian student Tosha Thakkar, who he strangled to death, stuffed into a suitcase and dumped in a canal.
New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Derek Price sentenced Daniel Stani-Reginald to a maximum of 45 years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of 30 years. With time served, he will be eligible for parole in March 2041.
Stani-Reginald strangled 24-year-old Thakkar to death with a cable, stuffed into a suitcase and dumped in the canal off the Parramatta River on March 21, 2011, when he was aged only 19, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
He and Thakkar, who was an accountancy student, lived in neighbouring apartments in a boarding house on Edwin Street, Croydon in Sydney`s inner west.
On the morning of the fateful day Stani-Reginald waited for his victim`s roommate to leave and then confronted Thakkar as she walked back from a communal bathroom.
He then raped and assaulted her and strangled her with a black coaxial cable, the paper said.
Thakkar`s body was discovered in a large black-cloth case floating in a canal near Meadowbank Park by workmen undertaking regular maintenance on an oil line, it said.
"The offender strangled her, an extraordinary cruel act," Judge Price said, adding the accused had shown no remorse, empathy or contrition for the pain he had inflicted.
"The last moments of her life must have been terrifying. This was a terrible way to die," he said. It was heard that the crimes had a "strong sexual element" and that Stani-Reginald had been planning them for months beforehand.
Stani-Reginald also viewed thousands of disturbing Internet articles and websites on notorious rapists and serial killers and other cases such as Dean Shillingsworth, the toddler whose body was dumped in a suitcase.
He also read judgments on the sentences of notorious killers and viewed pornography relating to Indian women.
"There`s documented evidence that he had been planning the murder for a number of years prior," Price said, adding, "The callousness of the act is disclosed in the calm manner in which the offender booked the taxi and took the body to Meadowbank. His lack of empathy is evident from the articles he viewed online before and after the murders."
The court heard that a number of psychiatrists examined Stani-Reginald over the course of his criminal history and all but one found that while Stani-Reginald was disturbed, there was no clear evidence of a mental disorder or psychosis, even though as a child his father had murdered his mother.
The judge found that the 21-year-old had demonstrated no contrition or remorse and represented a serious threat to the community.
"The offender`s prospects of rehabilitation are very poor. His juvenile record is replete with his refusals to accept assistance," Judge Price said.
"I`m satisfied that there`s a real risk that the offender will reoffend with acts of violence and sexual assault."
Nevertheless, the court stopped short of sentencing Stani-Reginald to life as prosecutors had suggested, finding that the offender`s young age meant such a sentence could equate to as much as 60 years in jail.