'It takes no effort for us to hate you': Family's kill pain
Murderer Wendie-Sue Dent is a selfish, remorseless, outlandish liar whose life is "a waste" and deserves only a "meaningless existence" in jail, her victim's family says.
On Friday, David Lawrence's brothers and sisters told the Supreme Court that Dent was "heartless" and beyond redemption - and any claim otherwise was "just another lie".
Throughout her trial, Dent - who poisoned Mr Lawrence - falsely portrayed his family as a divided group who squabbled over money and inheritance.
In a show of unity, Phillip, Sue, Kym, Tracy and Rodney Lawrence ended five years of silence by authoring a joint victim impact statement that ended Dent's deceit once and for all.
"It takes no effort for us to hate you … we will never forgive you, never, you do not deserve that," they told her.
"You have shown absolutely no empathy or remorse … you knew what you were doing, you planned David's death, you murdered him over several days only so you could get his life savings."
The family's full victim impact statement is embedded at the bottom of this story.
"You told outlandish lies about yourself and David, you lied about everything, you are incapable of telling the truth," they said.
"You have no respect for life, you have only thought of yourself and your own selfish desires … we do not believe you can ever be redeemed - your life is a waste.
"While you remain in jail, the world will go on without you, happy in the comfort that you are locked away in a meaningless existence.
"If you ever come to the point where you understand the damage you have done to our family and would like to make some sort of apology, we do not care - it will be just another lie."
In April, after six hours' deliberation, the jury of six women and six men found Dent guilty of murdering Mr Lawrence in December 2015.
She had also denied falsifying paperwork, including a will and handwritten notations on the back of his prized artwork, to be named his sole beneficiary.
Jurors rejected Dent's claims that Mr Lawrence's siblings had "not told the truth", and that prosecutors had led them "down a path" of "misrepresentation and confusion".
Dent has filed an appeal against her conviction.
In their victim impact statement on Friday, the Lawrences paid tribute to the brother they had loved so dearly.
"He would never let anyone down, always there to help regardless of the effort it might take," they said.
"To ask David for advice would nearly always end up with him volunteering to do the work - he loved helping his family, he loved helping people."
They said Dent - whom they referred to not by name, but as "the prisoner" - killed Mr Lawrence "for money, nothing else".
"She would have spent his life savings on frivolous things for herself like shopping, gambling, drugs, alcohol, taxi fares and legal fees," they said.
"We take some limited comfort that our efforts have helped stop her."
The Lawrences outlined numerous lies Dent told in the days following Mr Lawrence's death which sparked an expensive legal battle even as Dent helped herself to her victim's estate.
"This heartless woman remained in David's house for more than a year after he was murdered … everything of sentimental value was either given away or thrown out," they said.
"David had many family photographs and objects that were owned by our mother and father - memories of our past, all gone.
"The prisoner disposed of everything that had sentimental value … they were rubbish to her, she didn't care … these are things we can never get back."
They said they would never understand why Mr Lawrence had been murdered.
"David was killed over several days, with this person giving him drugs so that he slowly died … he was defenceless, he was incapacitated, she watched him die," they said.
"He was lonely and vulnerable, he tried to be helpful to this person … his efforts to be helpful were repaid with his life."
Martin Anders SC, for Dent, asked the court to consider his client's medical history when determining the length of her non-parole period.
"She was a consistent and profound user of opioid medication ... she had a profound addiction ... a sad and sorry state of affairs indeed," he said.
"An expert report says her irrational and bizarre behaviour was 'entirely consistent' with her chronic history of dependence."
He suggested Dent be sentenced as someone with "diminished capacity", given the "skewed lens and drug-induced fog" through which she viewed the world.
"The amount of medication she consumed was consistent with someone who was approaching death, who was being heavily palliated," he said.
Emily Telfer SC, prosecuting, rejected that submission.
"There is simply no evidence of her being in a fog, nor removed from reality," she said.
"To move from a longstanding addiction to a conclusion, without evidence, she was in a fog or detached from reality when she committed a murder for money is a leap that is not justified."
She said Dent's "habit" of "embellishment and dishonesty" meant the court could not be confident she had been truthful with the psychiatrist who compiled her pre-sentence report.
"Clearly, some of the things Dent said about her personal history were kernels for later lies," she said.
Justice Tim Stanley will sentence Dent next month.
THE FAMILY'S VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as 'Your life is a waste', victim's family tells poisoner