Peter Brown jailed for 30 years for murdering Simone Fraser after wrong man brought to court
A man who bashed a Melbourne mother to death with a brick and a golf club after being unable to repay a debt to her has been sentenced to 30 years’ jail.
- Peter Brown pleaded guilty in October to murdering Simone Fraser in March
- He will serve a minimum of 24 years in prison
- Corrections Victoria apologised for bringing the wrong man to court
Peter Brown, 57, pleaded guilty to murdering Simone Fraser, also 57, at Rockbank, west of Melbourne, in March this year, after an argument about a loan which he had failed to repay.
Brown’s sentencing was delayed after a different Peter Brown was initially brought to court, prompting Justice John Champion to express his displeasure with Corrections Victoria.
The Supreme Court heard Ms Fraser had previously dated Brown, and she had lent him about $3,800, which he sent to a woman in the Philippines he had met online.
After hitting her on the head with the brick, he wrapped her head in a plastic bag, wrapped duct tape around the bag, hit her with a golf club, and drove 300 kilometres to New South Wales, where he dumped her body near a state park at Mulwala.
Brown will serve a minimum of 24 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
There were audible gasps in the court as the sentence was handed down.
Brown ‘fantasised’ about foreign woman
The court heard Brown and Ms Fraser had had a brief relationship but were never seriously involved with each other.
In sentencing, Justice Champion said Brown had become infatuated with a younger woman in the Philippines, and had sent her about $26,000, despite the fact they had never met.
“[You] fantasised that she would become your life partner,” the judge told Brown.
In February, Brown had got back in touch with Ms Fraser and asked her for money.
The judge said Ms Fraser had agreed to meet Brown on March 9 to go to a bank to retrieve her funds, but Brown was unable to repay the money she had lent him.
“Your account balance was 64 cents. You did not have the means to pay the debt you owed,” Justice Champion said.
According to Brown’s account to police, when they met, tempers flared, and Ms Fraser said she was no longer interested in excuses, and wanted her money back.
“You picked up a house brick and lashed out at her, hitting her head several times,” Justice Champion said.
Killing was ‘callous and brutal’: judge
Justice Champion said Ms Fraser was a kind and generous person, and the attack on her was unprovoked and extremely violent.
“Your offending was extremely serious and your actions were callous and brutal,” the judge told Brown.
“You used four different weapons to kill her, the brick, the bag, the tape, and the golf club.
“You gave her no chance to breathe or survive.”
“At no stage did you help her, and you treated her body with a complete lack of regard.”
Brown dragged Ms Fraser’s body to the garage and placed it in her car boot, before driving her through Rockbank, throwing her phone out the window as he went.
He then drove up the Hume Highway to the Riverina district of New South Wales, and dumped Ms Fraser’s body under a tree near a camping ground.
Brown tried to use victim’s credit cards to send money overseas
Brown was later caught on CCTV buying McDonalds and petrol using his victim’s credit card.
He registered one of Ms Fraser’s credit cards with a remittance company, and tried to transfer money overseas.
When that did not work, he tried to set up a Western Union account to transfer money in her name.
When Ms Fraser’s daughter raised the alarm, police began investigating, and found blood in her garage.
Brown was arrested on March 20 in the car park of the Watergardens Shopping Centre at Sydenham.
Justice Champion noted that Brown had pleaded guilty at an early stage.
Corrections Victoria apologises for error
Earlier, the judge expressed frustration with Corrections Victoria after — for the second time in the case — the wrong Peter Brown was brought into the court.
The judge’s associate immediately recognised it was the wrong person.
Justice Champion said he was at a loss to understand what had occurred.
“What particularly unimpresses me is I don’t detect anyone here from Corrections,” he said.
“They haven’t had the courtesy to appear before the court, knowing the mistake had been made.”
Corrections Victoria apologised for the mix-up.
“Due to case of mistaken identity, Corrections Victoria delivered the wrong prisoner to a court hearing this morning,” a statement said.
“We apologise for the error and worked quickly to rectify it, with the correct prisoner now at court and the matter proceeding.”