Wendie-Sue Dent given 25 years for poisoning partner for $300,000 estate

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A woman who poisoned her partner with a deadly cocktail of morphine, valium and tramadol to claim his $300,000 estate has been jailed for at least 25 years.

Wendie-Sue Dent, 62, was handed the lengthy sentence in the Supreme Court of South Australia on Monday for her shocking murder of her lover David Lawrence.

She had been found guilty in April of murdering her de facto husband inside his Morphett Vale home, south of Adelaide, in December 2015. 

The conviction was handed down despite Dent repeatedly denying the charges.

The prosecution alleged Dent, who lived at Dapto in NSW’s Illawarra region before her arrest, administered Mr Lawrence a mixture of serious medications – including 20 doses of morphine.

Wendie-Sue Dent, 62, was handed the lengthy sentence at the Supreme Court of South Australia on Monday

Wendie-Sue Dent, 62, was handed the lengthy sentence at the Supreme Court of South Australia on Monday

She had been found guilty in April of murdering her de facto husband David Lawrence at his Morphett Vale home, south of Adelaide, in December 2015

She had been found guilty in April of murdering her de facto husband David Lawrence at his Morphett Vale home, south of Adelaide, in December 2015

A post-mortem examination revealed the toxic levels of morphine alone were enough to kill the 62-year-old.

The prosecution also accused Dent of faking Mr Lawrence’s will.

In sentencing on Monday, Justice Tim Stanley said she had exploited her victim’s love for her own financial benefit.

‘Mr Lawrence was besotted with you,’ he told Dent.

‘Ultimately you killed him for your own financial gain.’

The judge said Dent had preyed on his kindness and generosity and had compounded the hurt caused to the family by continuing to pursue his money.

He rejected suggestions she had acted in a ‘self-induced intoxication’ of opiates that had clouded her judgment.

‘I am not in a position to make a finding as to whether you administered the fatal cocktail or you induced Mr Lawrence to do so, but it makes no difference to your culpability for his death,’ the judge said.

‘Not only did you not demonstrate any contrition or remorse for your crime, but you have compounded the grief and suffering of Mr Lawrence’s siblings by the continued pursuit of Mr Lawrence’s money.

‘Your actions demonstrate your determination to pursue the plan to enrich yourself through his murder.’

The judge said Dent had preyed on David Lawrence's kindness and generosity and had compounded the hurt caused to the family by continuing to pursue his money

The judge said Dent had preyed on David Lawrence’s kindness and generosity and had compounded the hurt caused to the family by continuing to pursue his money 

The judge imposed the mandatory head sentence of life in jail but set a non-parole period of 25 years

The judge imposed the mandatory head sentence of life in jail but set a non-parole period of 25 years 

The judge imposed the mandatory head sentence of life in jail but set a non-parole period of 25 years, meaning she will not be eligible for parole until 2042.

Outside court, Mr Lawrence’s nephew Blake Lawrence said the family was pleased with the 25-year sentence which meant Dent was likely to spend the rest of her life behind bars.

‘She exploited David. He was a kind, loving, gentle person and she took advantage of that for her own greed,’ he said.

‘She’s a callous, remorseless individual. We’re glad to see her stay behind bars.’

Dent has launched an appeal against her conviction, arguing the guilty verdict was unsafe and unsatisfactory based on the evidence at her trial, including her love for Mr Lawrence and his love for her.

She said the prosecution had also not properly discounted the possibility that his death was an accident.

The appeal court will rule on a date to be fixed.  

Wendie-Sue Dent’s sentencing

Wendie-Sue Dent poisoned her partner David Lawrence, 62, in 2015 with a toxic cocktail of drugs including morphine, valium and tramadol. 

The Crown alleged she murdered Mr Lawrence and faked his will to claim his $300,000 estate.

A post-mortem examination revealed the toxic levels of morphine alone were enough to kill the 62-year-old. 

Justice Tim Stanley said Dent had shown no remorse or contrition and had exploited Mr Lawrence’s love for her own financial benefit.

‘Ultimately you killed him for your own financial gain,’ the judge told her.

‘I am not in a position to make a finding as to whether you administered the fatal cocktail or you induced Mr Lawrence to do so, but it makes no difference to your culpability for his death. 

‘Your actions demonstrate your determination to pursue the plan to enrich yourself through his murder.’ 

Mr Lawrence’s nephew Blake Lawrence said the family was pleased with the 25-year sentence which meant Dent was likely to spend the rest of her life behind bars.

‘She exploited David. He was a kind, loving, gentle person and she took advantage of that for her own greed,’ he said.

‘She’s a callous, remorseless individual. We’re glad to see her stay behind bars.’ 

Dent has launched an appeal describing her conviction as unsafe and unsatisfactory on the evidence at the trial.

She claims the pair were ‘besotted’ with each other, had planned to marry and Mr Lawrence had made arrangements for her to be taken care of after his death.

Dent says the Crown had not properly discounted the possibility that Mr Lawrence’s death was an accident.

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