Model sentenced for killing husband
Former bikini model and self-proclaimed "white witch" Raquel Hutchison bowed her head in court as relatives described the "brutal and calculated" way she had killed her "kind, loving" ex-husband.
Hutchison, a one-time Miss Hawaiian Tropic who has gained considerable weight over four years in prison, sat dry-eyed in the dock as the dead man's family described their anger and betrayal.
Only when a young relative appeared by video link did she look up as the boy told the court the effect of witnessing Hutchison killing her ex and driving in the car with the man in the boot.
"It's a horror movie and I'm stuck in the middle of it," the boy said. "I get flashbacks I feel really sad, betrayed and scared."
The boy said when he hears police sirens or helicopters "I get anxious … I get scared (Hutchison) will escape from jail."
Relatives took to the stand to call out Hutchinson for her "lack of remorse", her attempts to portray her ex-husband as a child abuser when she was motivated by jealousy.
One also said they feared for their lives if Hutchison ever gets out of jail.
The body of Hutchison's ex-husband, identified only as Brett Walker, was found by the side of a road at Greengrove near Mangrove Mountain, 100km northwest of Sydney on October 21, 2014.
The 41-year-old disability worker died after Hutchison and her boyfriend blinded him with Exit Mould, tied a rope around his neck, put him in a car boot and dumped him.
Raquel Gaelle Hutchison and Paul Atkinson were found guilty of Mr Walker's manslaughter earlier this month.
On Thursday, Hutchison faced a sentencing hearing alone in the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney.
Her dark hair drawn up in a sparkly hair clip, wearing glasses and a cream jersey top, Hutchison gazed at her lap as Brett's family described their nightmares and fear.
Now aged 40, Hutchison heard the victim impact statements of six of Mr Walker's family members read out at her sentencing.
Hutchison, whose trial heard had composed spells and made a voodoo doll of her ex-husband, punched him then gagged and bound him with duct tape before driving him around for hours.
Hutchison rocked slightly and looked steadfastly down as Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen SC called up the dead man's relatives.
Ian, the father of Brett Walker, reminded Hutchison how his caring son had helped her get over the trauma of being raped when young.
He also objected to Hutchison's claim that she had only wanted to hurt his son because she believed he was abusing children and said she'd killed Brett out of jealousy.
"To lose a son for what is in my opinion based on jealousy from a loving relationship between Brett and (his new partner) Maryam," Ian told Hutchison.
"To accuse Brett of cruelty to children is so untrue."
Ian said he objected to the "cavalier manner in which Brett's name has been denigrated and his reputation smeared" by Hutchison's professed motivation for attacking him.
Brett's sister Amanda told the court "Raquel's lack of remorse makes (this) challenging" and that she was "haunted by images of what happened" to him and "him on the side of the road".
She said Hutchison had a "clear disregard for human life. The possibility of her getting out scares us.
"We fear for our safety … knowing what she is capable of."
Brett Walker's mother Helen described her "overwhelming pain of the loss" of her son, a bush-loving, caring man with a "heart of gold" who was dedicated to helping the underprivileged.
"Raquel," Helen addressed the prisoner, "you were at the receiving end of his help.
"He took steps to help you put the perpetrator of your rape in jail.
"He helped you to reunite with your family."
Helen outlined the trauma her son's brutal death had caused young relatives, including one who was reminded of it every time he smelt, bleach, cleaning fluid or Exit Mould.
Another young relative wept as she relayed, via video link, how Brett's death had left her with lack of self worth, panic attacks and "terrifying hallucinations … figures in my room".
The young girl said she had difficulty sleeping, had become more aloof and was "scared of what will happen when (Hutchison) gets out of jail".
Justice Peter Hamill thanked victims for their "courage" in describing their emotions at Brett's slaying, including one young relative's anger at Hutchison's lies and drug abuse.
"There's nothing the court can do to take away your pain," he said. "All I can do is hope that in time there will be some closure for you and wish you the very best in life."
Hutchison has been in a maximum security women's prison since her arrest in January 2015, when she was charged with murder.
The court heard that soon after Hutchison's arrest over her ex-husband's death, prison authorities investigated her for an alleged escape plot with other inmates to bust out of jail and take hostages.
During a judge-alone trial over several weeks, it was not contested that Hutchison had tricked her ex-husband into leaving work on the day before he died.
Lured back to his home, he was ambushed, squirted in the eyes with Exit Mould and eucalyptus spray, tied around the neck and significantly beaten.
Hutchison and Wilkinson then put him in the boot of a car and drove him to different locations before eventually taking him to the isolated track where they left him.
His body was found the following morning, with a 8.4m bloodied cord in nearby undergrowth.
Hutchison admitted having some role in her ex-husband's death but pleaded not guilty due to mental illness and claimed that the hours long ordeal before his death was in order for her to get a confession from him.
Hutchison claimed her ex-husband was a child abuser, and that he had exposed children to exorcisms and other paranormal activities such as ghost and demon hunting.
Justice Hamill found that Hutchison's fears about child abuse were real, even if abuse had not occurred, and found the victim Brett had an interest in "esoteric paranormal activities" and had exposed children to it.
But evidence presented during the trial showed Hutchison considered herself to be a white witch, that she had composed spells and made a voodoo doll of her former husband with a child.
The court heard on Thursday that Hutchison's "intractable beliefs … because of her psychiatric issues" that her ex-husband was abusing children were wrong and that saying so had hurt Brett's family.
"The family have had to listen to the character of their loved one being roundly traduced by the case of the prisoner (Hutchison)," Ms Cunneen told the court.
"Her beliefs about the deceased were wrong. None of it was true."
Defence counsel Belinda Rigg SC denied it was part of the defence case that Brett had abused children.
During the trial, the court heard that on the day of Brett's ambush, text messages between Hutchison and Wilkinson included the words "Exit Mould works like Mace?" and "S**t c**ts always win except when someone stops them".
At 12.46pm on that day, Hutchinson also texted Wilkinson with the message, "Game on, we man up" with a fist emoji.
Justice Hamill found Hutchison and Wilkinson didn't go to Brett's house with an intention to kill or cause serious injury, but she "lost control of herself" after confronting her ex.
However, Justice Hamill was still satisfied her actions weren't a reasonable response to the situation as she perceived it, and that other options were available to her and Wilkinson.
Wilkinson will be sentenced in February.