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Kenyan killer who crushed his Aussie girlfriend’s skull and set her on fire gets just 15 years’ jail

Chudier Towath Pal Stephanie Lee Robinson

A Kenyan immigrant will be eligible for parole in 12 years despite being found guilty of bludgeoning his Australian girlfriend to death and setting her home on fire.

Chudier Towath Pal, 32, crushed the skull of his girlfriend, mother-of-five Stephanie Lee Robinson, 30, at her home in Doubleview, Perth, in January 2021, before putting her body under a mattress and setting it alight.

Pal, who stands 206cm (6’9″) tall to Ms Robinson’s 164cm (5’4″), pleaded not guilty to murder during his judge-only trial in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, claiming he was of unsound mind at the time of the savage killing.

Justice Joseph McGrath ruled that Pal could not be excused from criminal responsibility since he had voluntarily used methamphetamine, but accepted the defence’s claims the killer was suffering from an untreated schizophrenic disorder.

He found that Pal’s drug use could have worsened or triggered a psychotic episode, but did said: “You have not proven that you were in such a state of mental impairment that you would not do these acts without intoxication”.

The judge also took Pal’s “genuine remorse” into account in sentencing him to life in prison, with a non-parole period of 15 years backdated to January 2021 when he was taken into custody after the murder.

Pal’s defence lawyers claimed he was a low risk of re-offending, but Justice McGrath disagreed, saying his history of drug use meant he was at risk of committing more offences if he again took illegal drugs.

Mr Robinson’s devastated mother slammed the sentence outside court on Thursday.

“I’m glad it’s finally finished … but I’m not happy with it,” she said.

“She was a mother of five. My daughter.”

Three months before she was brutally murdered Ms Robinson wrote on Facebook that she was in a “complicated relationship”. A male friend responded: “You deserve better”.

Kenyan-born Pal played college basketball in the US before returning to Australia where he trained with the Perth Wildcats.

The sentence comes after two different African men were charged with murder in Perth this month.

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