By Jessica Howard
The man who tied Springbank war veteran Ken Handford to his own bed and left him to die after a brutal stabbing has been sentenced to 27 years in jail.
Adam Williamson was the driving force behind the vicious murder of Mr Handford, who was stabbed 13 times in the back on the eve of his 90th birthday.
Williamson was employed to harvest potatoes on the farm in which Mr Handford lived on; however, in 2014, his employment was terminated after he was suspected of having stolen from the elderly man’s wallet.
On September 13 2015, Williamson attended the property with co-accused Jonathon Cooper in order to steal a large sum of money believed to be at the house.
Williamson tied Mr Handford to the bed before Cooper flew into a rage and repeatedly stabbed him in the back.
In sentencing on Tuesday (April 17), Justice Jane Dixon said the extreme violence of the attack was said to be triggered by anger as a result of Cooper’s own experience of childhood sexual abuse.
She said Williamson had lied to Cooper, stating that Mr Handford was a paedophile.
“It was Cooper who presented the knife to menace the deceased, and Cooper who ultimately chose to stab him when he was struggling and crying out,” she said.
“Nevertheless, your presence assisted and encouraged Cooper in carrying out this violent armed robbery, after helping to place restraints on the deceased’s hands and legs.
“Your conduct was brutal and cowardly”.
Williamson pleaded guilty to statutory murder, aggravated burglary and theft.
Justice Dixon said Mr Handford’s family and friends are now haunted by the memories associated with the day of the offending.
“Victim impact statements [received by the court] reflect the high regard in which Mr Handford was held,” she said.
“The murder of Kenneth Handford has had a shattering effect on his son and daughter and their respective families, as well as on his surviving brother and sister-in-law.
“Crimes such as yours diminish the confidence of the community in the security and safety of their domestic lives”.
Williamson was sentenced to 27 years in jail, with a non-parole period of 23 years.
He has served 903 days in pre-sentence detention.
Following sentencing, Mr Handford’s granddaughter Leah spoke with media outside the court.
“This means one thing for us, and that’s that we don’t really have to live like this anymore and that we will have an opportunity to properly grieve a much loved man”.
Earlier this year, co-accused Jonathon Cooper was sentenced to 24 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 20-years, after a successful application in Victoria’s Court of Appeal.