Violent home invasion lands ?Black Widow? killer in prison
CONVICTED "Black Widow" case murderer Dennis Wayne Garner was jailed again yesterday after pleading guilty to his role in a violent Toowoomba home invasion.
Noting the "ring leader" in the incident of February 15 last year was Garner's de facto wife, Judge Howell remarked to Toowoomba District Court that it was not the first time Garner had acted as "monkey" to a female "organ grinder".
Garner, then 21, was jailed for life in 1986 after being found guilty of the murder of Toowoomba man Geoff Lange, whose charred body was found in a burnt-out utility 14km from Toowoomba on Old Goombungee Road in April that year.
Mr Lange's wife, Wendy, and Brian Leslie Idiens, then 18, were also jailed for life after being found guilty of what the media at the time dubbed the "Black Widow" murder.
The black widow reference arose after the trio's trial was told Wendy Lange had allegedly bought a dress for her husband's funeral a week before his death.
Garner was still on parole for the murder when he accompanied de facto Katrina Elizabeth Lipsett, 35, on February 15, last year, to a Toowoomba home where she became embroiled in an argument and struggled with another woman.
During the scuffle, Lipsett shoved a lit cigarette into the woman's face.
Chief Judge Patsy Wolfe in July jailed Lipsett for four years, suspended after 12 months for four years, after Lipsett pleaded guilty to torture, burglary with violence in company with property damage, and assault occasioning bodily harm, all arising from the home invasion.
The incident had taken place in full view of the complainant woman's terrified young children, the court heard.
Judge Howell yesterday remarked he considered Lipsett's sentence as manifestly inadequate and that Garner's sentence would have to be structured with parity in mind.
Garner pleaded guilty to burglary with violence in company with property damage, and to two counts of unlawful assault of two women, including one he pushed over as she tried to call police during the incident and while she was holding a three-year-old child in her arms.
Noting Garner's offending in the matter was less than that of Lipsett's, and that he had been in custody since his arrest last February, Judge Howell sentenced him to three years' jail, suspended after 12 months for three years.