Ripley woman Jolene Mills was killed by her husband in 2005.
Ripley woman Jolene Mills was killed by her husband in 2005.

Jolene's killer free after 5 years

THE family of Ipswich woman Jolene Mills say they are devastated her husband Garry has been released on parole after serving less than five years in jail.

Jolene Mills was killed by her husband Garry John Mills on July 9, 2005 at the Ripley home the couple shared with their two young children.

Mills was originally charged with murder for strangling his wife with an extension cord after they had a fight in which they accused each other of infidelity.

Mills dumped her body in bushland at Ripley before making a public plea to help find her. He was arrested after police found blood-stained clothing hidden in the roof of their house.

Mills was originally charged with murder, but the charge was downgraded on the grounds his wife had provoked the brutal attack.

In January 2008, Garry Mills was sentenced to 10 years jail in the Queensland Supreme Court in Brisbane after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of his wife.

At the time, Mills’ father Barry said he felt the sentence was excessive because he believed his son did not intend to kill Jolene.

Her mother Kaye Petie said seeing Mills’ sentence reduced to manslaughter was “like being stabbed in the heart”.

Jolene’s sister Carissa Selway yesterday told The Queensland Times the family was shocked by Garry Mills’ release from jail.

“We got a letter from the parole board saying he’s been released,” Ms Selway said.

“He’s been released from jail after less than five years. Where’s the justice? It’s a joke.”

Ms Selway, who like her mother now lives in Victoria, said she had been told Mills moved back into his former house in Ripley with his two children.

“The neighbours even threw him a welcome-home party,” she said.

“From my sister’s point of view it’s a big let-down from the justice system.”

Before he was sentenced, the court was told Mills and his wife were childhood sweethearts but had a tumultuous relationship punctuated by domestic violence.

On the day of the killing, the couple argued after Mrs Mills returned home from her secret lover’s house.

The argument escalated and Mrs Mills picked up an extension cord and began hitting her husband with it, striking him on the head and hands.

Mills went into what he later described as “meltdown, wresting the cord from her hands and wrapping it around her neck.

He also tried to suffocate her by sticking two fingers in her nostrils.

The court was told Mrs Mills eventually went limp and died.

Although the coroner was unable to determine conclusively the cause of death, it is accepted she died as a result of strangulation.

The court was told Mills panicked and drove to a secluded bushland area, where he buried his wife’s body in a shallow grave.

A Corrective Services Department spokesman yesterday said Garry Mills was granted parole by the independent parole board.

The spokesman said the parole board considered a range of factors when deciding whether to grant a parole application.

They included:

  • the safety of the community;
  • the nature of the offence;
  • the offender’s past offences and any patterns of offending;
  • the possibility of the offender committing further offences;
  • whether the offender has previously been granted an order and if so, whether the offender breached any conditions of that order;
  • whether the offender has successfully completed programs of rehabilitation;
  • the institutional conduct of the offender whilst incarcerated;
  • the viability of the offender’s relapse prevention and release plans;
  • the risk of physical or psychological harm to a member of the community and the degree of risk;
  • any behavioural report relating to the offender; and the sentencing Judge’s recommendation.
  • The offender can also be subjected to a range of conditions on the parole including undergoing a range of counselling, psychiatric, psychological, medical treatment and/or counselling; that the prisoner disclose any personal relationship and submit to alcohol and drug testing.

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