A REMORSELESS and sadistic killer who publicly torched his partner has been jailed for life for a crime described by a Supreme Court judge as “beyond human comprehension”.
David Warwick Hopkins, 42, must spend at least 30 years in jail for the murder of his partner, Nicole Joy Millar, last June at a Bayswater petrol station, which was prolonged by him refusing to let anyone help her as she screamed and burnt.
Hopkins had a history of violence against Ms Millar, including death threats, the Supreme Court heard yesterday.
On the day of the murder, Hopkins began refuelling Ms Millar’s car but shortly after brought the petrol nozzle inside the car and sprayed her with fuel. He stabbed her in the neck and then used a cigarette lighter to ignite her.
Ms Millar, 42, escaped the car but for more than three minutes, Hopkins aggressively paced around her, refusing to let witnesses help her, and shouting “burn bitch, burn”, “I hope you die”, “burn, let her burn” and “hurry up and burn”.
In sentencing yesterday, Justice Betty King described the killing as “unspeakable”, adding that “the behaviour is the example of the worst kind of viciousness and sadistic behaviour this court is ever likely to see”.
“What you did to this woman on this day was unspeakable,” she said.
Ms Millar died nine hours after being taken to The Alfred hospital. Before being placed in an induced sleep, she pleaded with her anaesthetist: “Please don’t let me die.”
Justice King said she rejected Hopkins’s claim that he was in a drug-induced psychosis at the time, but found that his recent drug use had prompted his anger to erupt into rage on the day.
Hopkins had an extensive drug history which included consumption of cannabis, amphetamines, ice, speed, heroin, ecstasy and anabolic steroids.
Justice King explained that one of the reasons for imposing a minimum term was Hopkins’s guilty plea, but although it was not demonstrative of remorse, it was of real community benefit because witnesses were not required to testify at a trial and a jury had not been forced to view CCTV footage of the murder.