Freeman gets life, 32 years non-parole

Freeman gets life, 32 years non-parole

Arthur Freeman has been sentenced to life with 32 years non parole for throwing his daughter off a bridge.

Man behind the monster

Patrick Carlyon tries to explain the inexplicable – why Arthur Freeman murdered his daughter

Arthur Freeman sentenced

Arthur Freeman arrives at court today before being sentenced

Arthur Freeman Peta Barnes wedding

Darcey Freeman as a flower girl at a relative’s wedding

UPDATE 12.52pm: THE man who threw his daughter off the West Gate Bridge has been sentenced to life in prison.

Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan today sentenced Arthur Phillip Freeman, 37, to life in jail with a non-parole period of 32 years for the murder of four-year-old daughter Darcey as he sought revenge against her mother during a custody battle.

Darcey died hours after being thrown 80m from the bridge by her father on January 29, 2009.

Freeman was found guilty of murdering Darcey by a Supreme Court jury last month.

Listen now: Arthur Freeman sentenced

Today, Freeman showed no reaction throughout the hearing, but had to be pulled from the courtroom by three guards following a bizarre outburst after the sentence was handed down.

Freeman backed into a corner of the dock to avoid guards as he accused an in-law of being implicated in the theft of diamonds from a West Australian mine and Federal Police phone taps, while he also mentioned death threats to himself during the rant.

During a 40-minute statement that had finished moments earlier, Justice Coghlan said Freeman had not shown remorse or even begun to understand the enormity of his brutal crime.

“You are yet to say sorry for what you have done,” he said.

“Your attitude to these matters remain self-centred. I regard your prospects of rehabilitation as bleak.”

Prosecutors had called for Freeman to be jailed for life without parole, while his lawyers had pleaded for a minimum term.

In handing down the life sentence, the judge said he understood the argument that he should be “locked away for ever”, but he was obliged to consider other factors.

“Whatever happens, you will spend what many consider will be the best years of your life in prison,” he said.

But he said he did not think Freeman was “beyond redemption” and took into account good behaviour, family support and references.

The judge also said, “One of the unfortunate features of this case is that others blame themselves”, but the judge said they should not.

“You are responsible for it. And nobody else,” Justice Coghlan said.

“The earliest date you can be released is 29 January 2041, when you will be 67 years old,” the judge said.

Darcey’s mother and Freeman’s ex-wife Peta Barnes showed no emotion at the sentencing, and left the court with supporters without making a statement.

Several members of the jury that convicted Freeman were also in court to hear the verdict.

Arthur Freeman sentenced

Arthur Freeman sentenced
Arthur Freeman arrives at court today before being sentenced

Darcey’s death a fundamental breach of trust

Justice Coghlan, in handing down his sentence, said Freeman’s actions were aggravated by an act breaching the basic trust of father and child, and had destroyed the lives of others.

“This was a killing of an innocent child,” he said.

“The circumstances of the killing were horrible.

“The throwing of your four-year-old daughter from a bridge more than 80 metres above the ground could not be more horrible.

“What Darcey’s last thoughts might have been does not bear thinking about, and her death must have been a painful and protracted one.”

He said Freeman’s actions were “a fundamental breach of trust” and an attack on the institution of family.

He said the death was made worse because Freeman had killed Darcey in the presence of his two young sons, Ben, 6, and Jack, 2.

“It can only be concluded that you used your daughter in an attempt to hurt your former wife as profoundly as possible.”

And he said Freeman could not have chosen a more public place for the murder act, saying it had offended the sensibility of the entire community.

He said the lives of Darcey’s mother and many others would “never be the same”.

In describing the impact on others, Justice Coghlan said emergency services, witnesses and the community as a whole had been affected by Darcey’s death, by having the events “forced upon them”

Darcey Freeman

Darcey Freeman

Freeman was not mentally ill

Justice Coghlan said Freeman’s defence largely attempted to push for a non-parole period based on “impaired mental function” which would have reduced his moral culpability.

But quoting Dr Lester Walton’s expert advice, the judge said, “there is minimal evidence … that Freeman was suffering from mental illness that he would have realised his conduct was wrong”.

And while no-one knew what Freeman was thinking at the time he threw Darcey from the bridge, Dr Walton said in evidence: “I believe it is highly likely that Freeman may be have suffering clinical depression at the time of the offence”.

Dr Walton also believed Freeman may need close supervision because he was a suicide risk.

Justice Coghlan accepted that the sentence would “weigh more heavily” on Freeman partly as a result of his depression, but also the nature of Darcey’s death.

Arthur Freeman Peta Barnes marry in 1999

Arthur Freeman Peta Barnes marry in 1999
Arthur Freeman and Peta Barnes marry in 1999

Judge describes moments before and after Darcey’s death

According to the judge, Freeman had driven to his parents’ house in the seaside hamlet of Aireys Inlet where his three children had been staying.

The next morning, Freeman’s father Peter noticed his son was distressed and appeared to be in a “trance”.

The day before he killed Darcey, Freeman had the amount of custody time he had with his children reduced by a court.

Justice Coghlan said Freeman’s act appeared to have been triggered by his reaction to custody orders, and a desire to seek “spousal revenge”.

While heading back to Melbourne, he had a lengthy phone conversation with friend Elizabeth Lamb who was in England at the time, telling her that he felt he had “lost” his children.

Minutes before the murder, Freeman telephoned Ms Barnes and told her to “Say goodbye to your children”.

He parked his four-wheel drive in the left-hand emergency lane, near the West Gate Bridge’s highest point, coaxed Darcey out of he car and picked her up.

Freeman then carried the child in his arms to the edge of the bridge and threw her over the edge.

As Freeman drove away from the bridge after murdering Darcey, his six-year-old son Ben urged him to turn back.

“Darcey can’t swim,” Ben told his father.

Freeman drove to the Commonwealth Law Courts complex in the CBD and tried to hand his two-year-old son Jack to security staff.

Freeman then became distressed and started crying and shaking.

He was later arrested at the complex.

Arthur Freeman
Arthur Freeman pictured with Darcey (left), and leaving court after the verdict


13 thoughts on “Freeman gets life, 32 years non-parole

  1. Finally justice is served for this evil creature. The thought of the terror that went through little Darcy’s head during her final moments, not to mention the poor children in the car who witnessed it and are left to try and go on with their lives, brings me to tears.

    Rest in peach little one xx


  2. I had hoped he would get jailed for this. What he did is just disgusting and I really feel for the rest of Darcey’s family, especially her mother.

    But.. There is clearly something wrong with him psychologically and I really hope he gets the help he needs. I doubt that will happen while he’s in jail though.


  3. Not long enough or harsh enough.
    I look at the picture of him and his daughter and all I can think of is what went through HER mind as he tossed her.
    There is no punishment strong enough for a parent that can look at their child and then kill them.
    It is not a sickness, it was revenge. He sacrificed her so that he could have the pleasure of torturing her mother.
    He is just ‘bad’, ‘evil’, ‘ sub -human’, not sick just self centered and narcissistic.
    He is not curable.


  4. The Judge summed it up. He got it right. We are thankful that the sentance upheld our values about family and human life. This act destroyed another human being in the self-centered pursuit of ‘revenge’.


  5. Life should mean life.What Darceys mother and brothers have to endure is a life sentance while he is being protected in a gaol.Where is the fairness in that.He took the life of a child one he was meant to protect.


    • Yeah there should not of been a minimum sentence but at least it saves the system some money because it gives the bastard one less ground to appeal with…He will not live more than a few years I reckon.Whether he wants to or not!


  6. the comments in this thread sum it up nicely for me. ignorance.
    not one of you even mentioned psychological issues and what kind of effect a split has on a human’s ability to comprehend and think. im not condoning this act in any way shape or form, but it is often said that mothers who commit suicide and take their own with them, or kill their own do it believing that it is for the good of their child. Since that is a known phenomenon, surely this act in question deserves something of a similar consideration? its certainly not a simple serial killer or serial rapist or random act- all too are results of other psych issues by the way. its a tragedy, but tagging this person as a monster, IMO, isnt a correct interpretation. a terrible, monstrous act- yes.


      • Hey Tim “i retract everything..according to the report, the guy was not mentally ill.” Are you being fair dinkum?

        He knew exactly what he was doing. It was proven in court, he was not mad, just bad. He was in full control as he pulled up to that lane on the west gate bridge. I drive over it every week to pick my own son up. He picked his spot to ensure it was over water….Made sure he was in the appropriate lane beforehand….

        He pulled over, asked her to come into the front seat, (intent to get her out of backseat ) put handbrake on, hazard lights on (How considerate!) Got out with her and tossed his poor bewildered daughter Darcey over the edge.

        Just another vindictive, jealous, selfish gutless, heartless father so enraged to payback his ex. And yes women do this do, should be treated the same.Jail for life


  7. This guy is an absolute pig, but this is an insulte to pigs, how couild someone do this to there child just because of a divorce BUT this happens all the time, its like the woman has one so the man will win again and kill the kids ( ie like most gassings in cars) or vise versa as im not saying only men do this, however that poor little girl, I read that her brother said she didnt even scream, a 6 yr old shouldnt have to say that about the sister they watched being murdered by the one man who was suppose to protect her for life.
    We really need some kind of capital punishment brought back into this country and then maybe just maybe horrific things like this might just stop!!!!


  8. Isnt it sad to see that this evil man got Life …. yet Life in NSW is well for this guy a minimum of 32 yrs….This evil creature is clearly a man who should show our state and country that we are in dire need of the Death Penalty back??? This man clearly rung his wif and then said You will not see ur children again, but after throwing his gorgeous little daughter he got back in the car and sped off. This is obviously a man who did something on the spur of the moment….Realising wat he had done….this man needs to be a lesson to be learned in our society…Too many children are being killed …When is this evil world ever going to rid of its evil….My heart goes out to Darcys family and any1 who had to witness this evil man!!!!!! RIP Darcy!!!!


  9. He could theoretically be free at 67. That’s not so old. Darcy will never be 67, or anything, for that matter. He should have been hanged. Zero tolerance for kid killers.


  10. Pingback: Jason Lees Commits Murder/Suicide with young son Brad « Aussie Criminals and Crooks

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