A HEROIN addict, who was convicted of murdering his prostitute girlfriend, dismembering her body with a saw and dumping the body parts at a NSW property, has failed in his bid for a retrial.
Neal Richardson appealed his conviction and 28-year jail sentence on the grounds jurors in his 2012 trial were unfairly exposed to the evidence of a Sawtell police officer, who had dealt with the couple's volatile relationship in the past.
Senior Constable Brooke O'Connor, was working at the Maroubra station when she took a statement from the now deceased Kirrilee Grant at the Prince of Wales Hospital on October 23, 2009.
The victim told Sen Const O'Connor that she and Richardson had been arguing when she was dragged into the bedroom and her hands and legs were bound with cable ties.
She said Richardson told her "shut up...I don't want to hear you cry...this will stop you from crying" and forced a sock down her throat.
She was then kneed in the chest and stomach and her mouth was covered in tape before Richardson finally fell asleep and she was able to free herself by using a cigarette lighter to burn the ties.
Richardson was charged with assault and was due to front court over the attack the morning after Ms Grant was murdered in April, 2010.
He told police the couple was once again arguing when Ms Grant fell back and hit her head.
He said her lips had turned purple, he had panicked, smoked a few cigarettes, taken a power saw from the laundry, dismembered Ms Grant's body and placed the remains in garbage bags.
He bought a shovel from Bunnings, drove the bags to a property on the South Coast and when he discovered the ground was too hard to dig, dumped them under a Lantana bush.
Ms Grant's decomposed remains were discovered in September 2010 and Richardson was charged with murder.
During the trial, jurors were directed to look at Sen Const O'Connor's evidence when considering the Crown's case that the assault charges and looming court case gave Richardson a motive to be rid of the victim but not to take it as proof that he had a tendency to act in a particular way towards her in the past.
Richardson was found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 21 years jail.
The sentencing judge rejected the argument that Richardson had dismembered the victim's body for transport reasons only and said the fact that some parts had been cut into "smaller pieces than can sensibly be explained - one foot was cut in two, a little finger and both nipples had been removed - reflected a "higher level of criminality".
Richardson's lawyers told the Court of Criminal Appeal that the tendency evidence, "for the non-propensity purpose to establish a motive to kill has resulted in a substantial miscarriage of justice".
It was also argued that the judge's findings about the treatment of the corpse had resulted in a sentence which was too severe in the circumstances.
A panel of judges rejected the appeal this week.
Justice Megan Latham went as far to say it was a "completely unmeritous appeal".
She said it was unfortunate that the "maintenance of such appeals in this jurisdiction inevitable delays the listing of other conviction appeals with real prospects of success.
Richardson will be eligible for parole in May, 2031.