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  • Dad gets life sentence for sons' murder
  • AAP
  • 16/11/2007 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 59 articles in 2007 )
Victorian man Robert Farquharson has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail for murdering his three sons by driving them into a dam.

Farquharson, however, has continued to maintain his innocence and immediately lodged an appeal to fight his conviction and three life sentences without parole.

In handing down his sentence on Friday, Supreme Court Justice Philip Cummins said he would not set a minimum term because Farquharson had contemplated killing his own children over a significant time and they had entrusted him with their safety.

The purpose of the killings was to punish his estranged wife, Cindy Gambino, he said.

"Your purpose was to ensure all three were killed so that their mother was left with no consolation," Justice Cummins said.

Outside court, Farquharson's brother-in-law Ian Ross read out a statement written by the convicted killer.

"The court has found me guilty, but I did not murder my children," he said in the statement.

"I received a life sentence on the night my boys died so I don't care much about what other people think of me."

Ms Gambino, who collapsed when the guilty verdict was handed down on October 5 and spent that night in hospital, was not in court for Friday's sentencing.

Justice Cummins said Farquharson, 38, was in total control of the children when he drove off the road and into a dam at Winchelsea, south-west of Melbourne on Father's Day, 2005.

Farquharson denied murdering his sons - Jai, 10, Tyler, 7, and Bailey, 2 - saying he blacked out from a coughing fit and woke as the car was in the water.

However, the prosecution maintained he deliberately drove into the dam, killing the boys as revenge against his ex-wife.

Farquharson appeared anxious in court, biting his lip and at times shaking his head.

Half a dozen family members and supporters, wearing badges of support reading "Robbed" and "In Rob we Trust", walked out of court as Justice Cummins spoke of Farquharson's resentment of Ms Gambino.

"You had a burning resentment that you were financing your estranged wife's new life," Justice Cummins said.

"She had the better house, the better car, the children - all financially provided by or supported by you; and now she has a new relationship. You said to a friend, Mr Gregory King, 'Nobody does that to me and gets away with it.'"

Farquharson told Mr King about his plans three months before the murders, saying there would be an accident involving a dam in which he survived but not the children, Justice Cummins said.

The court heard Farquharson said it would be on a special day, like Father's Day, so he would be the last to see them and their mother would remember it forever.

Justice Cummins said Farquharson had shown no remorse and even his behaviour at the dam showed self-interest, as he did not join any attempts to find the children.

He said the law had to protect the weak from the strong, and nowhere more so than in cases involving children.

One of Farquharson's lawyers, solicitor Simon Northeast, confirmed appeal papers were lodged in the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday.

"Robert Farquharson maintains his innocence," Mr Northeast told reporters outside court.

"He's appealed against sentence and conviction.

"We look forward to a fair trial."

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