Home Crime Murderer sentenced with a concession

Murderer sentenced with a concession

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By Jessica Howard

The man who murdered Springbank war veteran Ken Handford has been jailed for 16 years.

Jonathan Jeffery Cooper broke into Mr Handford’s home on the eve of his 90th birthday and stabbed him 13 times in the back.

Victorian Supreme Court judge, Justice Jane Dixon jailed the 29-year-old man on Friday (April 21), ordering he serve a non-parole period of 13 years.

Justice Dixon said Cooper had received a considerable discount on his sentence because of his guilty plea and the fact that he had agreed to give evidence against his co-accused.

She said if he had not offered that assistance, he would have been sentenced to 27 years behind bars, with a non-parole period of 25-years.

On September 14 2015, Cooper was under the influence of ice when he, and a co-accused, tied Mr Handford up by his wrists and legs and gagged him with a sock.

Justice Dixon said Cooper, who was sexually abused as a child, had been wrongly instructed by his accomplice that Mr Handford was a paedophile, leading him to “lose control” and stab the great grandfather with a double-edged knife.

After the attack, Cooper and the co-accused stole cash and war medals before leaving Mr Handford tied up in his bedroom, where he succumbed to his injuries four hours and 38-minutes later.

His body was found by a family friend the following day.

Justice Dixon said Cooper and the co-accused had believed that Mr Handford kept up to $20,000 cash on his property.

She said the offending was pre-mediated and cowardly.

“You deliberately targeted an elderly and vulnerable victim,” she said.

“[Mr Handford] should have felt safe and secure in his own bed late at night”.

Justice Dixon told the accused that the misapprehension that Mr Handford was a paedophile was no excuse for his “angry and violent impulse”.

Cooper pleaded guilty to one count of murder, theft and aggravated burglary.

His co-accused, Adam Williamson, initially pleaded guilty to identical charges, however in a separate hearing, was successful in an application to change his plea.

He will face trial later this year.