This monster killed two other innocent people and was given a free pass twice, to go and kill again. I hope the bloody do gooders sitting on those panels that let these freaks out early are feeling as guilty as sin. They are master manipulators and you all got sucked in.Life should mean life, what’s the damn point if it isn’t? he was dreaming about the day he would get out and fantasising about the next one.
THE sadistic killer who dismembered a childcare worker and dumped her body parts off a pier had murdered twice before, it can now be revealed.
In a move that took police and prosecutors by surprise, John Leslie Coombes yesterday pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to the murder of Raechel Betts, 27.
Coombes strangled Ms Betts and cut her up in a bathtub after an argument at the Phillip Island home of co-accused Nicole Godfrey in August 2009.
Told Coombes had killed twice before, Betts’ family called for a review of the parole system.
Her body parts were placed in plastic bags and thrown off a pier at nearby Newhaven.
In the wake of yesterday’s guilty plea, the Herald Sun can reveal that Coombes had twice been convicted of murder – but was released – before he killed Ms Betts.
In February 1984 he murdered a man named Michael Peter Speirani.
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- Ex-TV celeb to stand trial over stabbingThe Australian, 15 Mar 2011
In November the same year he murdered Henry Desmond Kells.
Coombes received a life term in December 1985 for the Kells murder. So why the hell is he out and allowed to kill again? Very weak laws back then, are they much better now?
In April 1990 he was granted an 11-year minimum term. For the Speirani murder he was ordered, in April 1998, to serve 15 years with a 10-year minimum.
Raechel’s grandfather, Neville Betts, told the Herald Sun that while Coombes had pleaded guilty to the murder, “the whole experience needs to be looked at”.
“I’ve got seven granddaughters … Raechel was the oldest, and when she was taken out you wonder why, and you wonder how,” he said.
“It’s all very hard. What I do know now … the parole system has to be seriously looked at. This man murdered, and was paroled, and he came out and murdered again.
“With two murders under his belt, both convictions, he went forward and murdered the third time.”
The system “got it so wrong” in allowing a “beast to come among us again”.
Mr Betts and Raechel’s mother, Sandra Betts, said Coombes’s decision to plead guilty yesterday was a small step towards justice.
“It’s the most honest thing he’s done so far, that’s for sure,” Sandra Betts said outside the Supreme Court after the surprise plea.
Coombes decided to change his plea during a morning of pre-trial argument. When asked how he pleaded to the charge of murdering Ms Betts, he replied: “Guilty, Your Honour.”
Coombes will next appear in court before Justice Geoff Nettle on June 24.
Nicole Godfrey, 28, had already pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice after providing Coombes with a false alibi.
Last week she received a three-year jail term, suspended for three years. So she got stuff all as well
THREE-times killer John Leslie Coombes’ low regard for women can be traced back to his mother, who abandoned him when he was barely six months old.
She left Coombes and his twin brother on a bed in a cheap Melbourne boarding house, never to return.
It was two days before the toddlers were discovered. They were immediately placed in a home for foundlings.
Soon after, Coombes’ brother was sent to live with another family. According to prison psychology reports, Coombes’ father, Les, returned from overseas to claim him. He then remarried and the family moved to Richmond.
That relationship did not last long. Father and son then moved to Edithvale, to another relationship. But there would be friction between the boy and Les’ new partner.
“Mr Coombes reported that he had significant problems with that lady, indicating that she was an aggressive and evil lady whom he hated. She’s had problems with alcohol,” the psychiatrist reported.
When Coombes was seven, the woman he’d hated took her own life. Coombes said he wasn’t upset.
Six years later, Coombes’ father remarried. Coombes told prison psychologists that while there were no significant problems with the relationship, he nonetheless felt he could not trust her.
A troubling pattern of low self-esteem and an equally low regard for women was beginning to show, especially towards his wife, whom he married in 1975.
Sandra Coombes would bear the brunt of his violence, later complaining to police of how she and their two children, a daughter born in 1976 and a son, in 1979, were often assaulted.
On occasions she was taken to hospital with injuries, including broken ribs.
Sandra’s fear of Coombes peaked when she gave crucial evidence against her husband.
As a consequence she and her two children fled into hiding. Sandra would give evidence in both of her husband’s murder trials.
In her statement to detectives investigating his first killing, she clearly states: “Our marriage was not a happy one.”
She tried to leave him several times. “John would also threaten that if I left him, he would find us and he would kill the children in front of me and then he would kill me,” she said.
It was in November 1984 when Sandra Flatters left Coombes in no uncertainty that she’d had enough of his violence and his criminality.
After police charged Coombes with the stabbing murder of Henry Kells in late 1984, she gave evidence for the prosecution. Coombes received a life sentence.
A minimum term of six years was fixed.
While he was in prison, police began investigating the disappearance and suspected murder of Michael Peter Speirani, 20, of Mornington, in early 1984.
Sandra’s evidence was vital in Coombes’ prosecution in March 1998.
In her statement to police she told of the day Speirani came to their Edithvale house to sell his car to Coombes.
Her husband’s co-worker was also there. The three tested the vehicle, towing Coombes’ fishing boat.
Only two men returned that night – Coombes and his friend. Sandra told the court her husband had cuts on his face and bleeding knuckles. His shirt was torn.
“(The friend) was as white as a ghost,” she recalled.
She was told the three had taken the boat on to the Bay, that there’d been a fight and that Speirani had been dropped off in Chelsea. But it was a lie.
When the friend left, Coombes admitted there had been an argument and they had “thrown Michael overboard and that they had left him”.
“I told John that he was crazy but he said there would be no problem because Michael would never be found,” she stated.
“John said they had run over Michael with the propeller and that they had dragged his body to the side of the boat and that John had sliced Michael up a bit so that the fish could finish the job.”
The next morning she was forced to clean the crime scene. “I felt sick and scared,” she stated.
“I saw there was dried blood on the gunnel rails. There were splotches everywhere but the majority of the blood was on the starboard side and there was also a handprint in blood on the rear wash well.”
Coombes inspected the boat to make sure the evidence had washed away.
After the second stabbing murder of Henry Kells in his bungalow, Sandra could take no more. After days of consideration, she told police of the Kells murder.
“During the time that the police were investigating and taking a statement from me about the November incident (Kell’s murder), I also told them about Michael (Speirani) and how he would be a missing person,” she stated.
In April, 1998, Coombes was found guilty of the Speirani murder and sentenced to 15 years’ jail.
The friend pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received six years.
Coombes’ final murder victim was the vulnerable childcare worker Raechel Betts.