A female prisoner who attacked two prison guards and a nurse while in jail for the attempted murder of a university student has died.
A female prisoner who attacked two prison guards and a nurse while in jail for the attempted murder of a university student has died.

Violent female prisoner dies in jail

A prisoner who tried to murder a La Trobe University student has been found dead at the state's main women's prison.

Sarah Jean Cheney was sentenced to eight years with a minimum 4½ years in 2007 for the attempted murder of a 27-year-old woman in the uni library's toilets.

The 36-year-old died last week at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre in Deer Park in non-suspicious circumstances.

Cheney, who had fantasised about killing, left the La Trobe victim with a lacerated spleen and punctured lung in the brutal ambush.

She would have been released years ago but for a violent history of assaults on nurses and staff in prison.

In 2013, she received more jail time for trying to strangle and suffocate a nurse after banging her victim's head against a wall at Dame Phyllis.

"I just wanted to hurt her," Cheney later told police. "It's just she was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The nurse said in a victim impact statement she could not breathe and thought she was going to die.

In a separate attack soon after, Cheney bashed a female prison officer, grabbing her by the hair and repeatedly smashing her head into the floor.

At around the same time, she assaulted a male guard, while handcuffed, hitting him in the face.

A court was told Cheney was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, with narcissistic traits, making it difficult for her to empathise with others.

A Department of Justice and Community Safety spokesperson confirmed a 36-year-old prisoner died at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre on Saturday.

"All deaths in custody are investigated by the Coroner, who formally determines the cause of death," the spokesman said.

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mark.buttler@news.com.au

Originally published as Notorious female prisoner dies in jail


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