Husband who murdered wife in failed suicide pact could spend as little as 10 years in jail


October 05, 2018 17:34:22

A WA man who murdered his wife of 34 years as part of a failed suicide pact has been sentenced to life in jail, but could spend as little as 10 years behind bars for what his lawyer described as a “loving act”.

Kevin John Keath, 71, used a machete to slash to the throat of Kerrie Anne Keath, 68, at their property at York, about an hour east of Perth, on March 8.

Mrs Keath had left a suicide note saying the couple had a suicide pact and after “dispatching” her, her husband was going to kill himself “as a loving act” to her.

Keath did not go through with the plan and instead drove into town and told two police officers, whom he had flagged down, what had happened.

Keath’s lawyer, Karen Farley SC, had told the Supreme Court it was her client’s “only and deepest” regret that he had not fulfilled the agreement with his wife to kill himself.

Ms Farley said the couple, who lived in isolation on their property, were in severe financial difficulties had believed their lives were intolerable.

She said they had tried to kill themselves before and believed that if they did not consider their lives were worth living, they had the right to die.

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Ms Farley submitted that her client, who pleaded guilty to a charge of murder, loved his wife and believed he was carrying out his wife’s wishes, and had no other option than to kill her.

She said he had decided to seek help rather than kill himself because he wanted his wife’s body treated with dignity and not to be eaten by rats while lying the floor.

Ms Farley had argued that, because of the unusual circumstances of the case, Keath should not receive a life jail term and instead be given a finite sentence.

However today Justice Bruno Fiannaca ruled that the only appropriate sentence was life imprisonment, with a minimum of 10 years in custody.










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