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Man jailed after pushing wheelchair-bound wife into pond to drown her

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A man has been jailed for life for killing his wife after pushing her into a pond while she was in her wheelchair.

Peter Dansie, 71, from the Australian city of Adelaide, drowned his 67-year-old wife Helen Dansie in what a judge described as the "ultimate act of domestic violence".

The court had heard that Dansie's feelings for his wife had soured and that he wanted to pursue a sexual relationship with a woman in China.

Image: Helen Dansie had been in a wheelchair since suffering a stroke. Pic: Channel 7

Dansie's home had been searched after his wife's death, the day before he was due to fly to China, with police finding his suitcase packed with condoms, viagra, sex toys and lingerie.

Justice David Lovell also said that Dansie saw his wife, a former microbiologist who was left disabled after a stroke in the 1990s, as a financial burden.

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Peter Dansie has been jailed for life after  pushing his wife into a pond in her wheelchair. Pic: Channel 7
Image: Peter Dansie's sentence includes a non-parole period of 25 years. Pic: Channel 7

Dansie, who had been her carer, had been "concerned" about the cost of various court proceedings over his wife's finances and about the possibility that he would "lose control" of her money, the judge added.

On Easter Sunday 2017, Dansie had taken his wife on what appeared to be an innocent outing to a public garden, then waited until it was nearly dark and many other people had left.

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The judge said Mrs Dansie had clearly trusted her husband and "had no idea of (his) malevolent intention".

Dansie had left his watch and wallet in the car, something the judge said showed an "expectation on your part that you would be getting wet that night".

"While you deliberately, and with intent to kill, pushed Helen into the pond, exactly how you pushed her in and what occurred after you did that act, I am unable to say.

"While you did get into the pond to give the impression that you had tried to save her, you clearly made no such attempt."

Peter Dansie has been jailed for life after  pushing his wife into a pond in her wheelchair. Pic: Channel 7
Image: Peter Dansie has been jailed for life after pushing his wife into a pond in her wheelchair. Pic: Channel 7

Justice Lovell said that Dansie had committed an "evil and despicable act".

"Helen, your loving and devoted wife for over 40 years, had simply become a burden to you….This was a chilling, planned murder of a person whose mistake was to trust you."

Dansie, who was found guilty of murder in December, will serve a non-parole period of 25 years.

He has been granted leave to appeal against his conviction with a hearing scheduled for May.

Following the December verdict, the couple's son Grant had told the Australian Broadcasting Corp: "The greed, callousness and lack of humanity was despicable and I'm very satisfied with the verdict."

"My beautiful mother belonged to three vulnerable groups – she had a disability, she was elderly, and she was a victim of domestic violence.

"Yet she managed to fall through all of the supposed safety nets, this isn't good enough."

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