Ten years for manslaughter

TRAGIC: Raichele Galea was stabbed to death on 30 June, 2017.

By Luke Voogt

A remorseless killer who stabbed Waurn Ponds mother Raichele Galea to death at Corio in 2017 could leave prison in less than five years.

Supreme Court judge Paul Coghlan today sentenced Norlane man Travis John Wills, 23, to 10 years’ prison after a jury convicted him of manslaughter last November.

The sentence carries a non-parole period of seven years and takes into account 786 days already served, meaning Wills could be free by January 2025.

In handing down the sentence Justice Coghlan noted Wills showed “a lack of remorse” in maintaining his innocence and implicating both his mother and aunt in the killing of the then 44-year-old Ms Galea.

“She had done nothing which warranted what happened to her,” he said.

“Raichele Galea has lost her life for no discernable reason.”

He also cited the victim impact statement of Ms Galea’s mother.

“Her grief is profound and her life has been altered dramatically by the loss of her daughter,” he said.

But Wills exhibited symptoms of major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, stemming from a “disadvantaged upbringing”, Justice Coghlan said.

He was “acutely intoxicated” at the time of the killing, which would have “amplified his risk of impulsive, reactive, aggressive and poorly-considered actions”, he said.

Justice Coghlan also noted Wills’ youth, prospects of rehabilitation and lack of contact with his partner and son while in prison as mitigating factors.

In November a jury found Wills not guilty of murder.

The jury found that the killing was not premeditated or deliberate, convicting him of manslaughter instead.

Wills stabbed Ms Galea after arguing with and punching his mother, Sandra Wills, at the home of aunt Debra Wills on 30 June, 2017, the Supreme Court heard during the trial.

The accused, his mother and aunt drank, smoked cannabis and shared anxiety medication on the night of the stabbing, the prosecution told the court.

Wills’ cousin had taken him outside following the argument before Ms Galea arrived at the unit about 9.47pm after her shift as a forklift-operator in South Geelong, the court heard.

Wills returned, argued with Ms Galea and attacked her with a knife, stabbing her six times, the court heard.

A stab wound to an artery in Ms Galea’s right leg resulted in her death.

Debra and Sandra Wills were inside the unit but both both told the court they never saw the accused with a knife.

Wills pleaded not guilty to murder, claiming he left the unit before the stabbing.

But swabs from Ms Galea’s left hand fingernails revealed male DNA linking Wills to the stabbing, Mr Lewis said.

During questioning, a forensic witness explained that a certain haplotype, a closely-knit group of genes inherited from one parent, matched Wills’ DNA.

The haplotype was on average found in one of every 461 unrelated Caucasian men, the forensic expert said.

“That piece of evidence is more difficult to explain away,” Crown Prosecutor Justin Lewis told the court.

“You can see her fingernails in the photographs. They are very short fingernails.

“How did that DNA get under those fingernails?”

Mr Lewis said only a “struggle” would result in Wills’ DNA ending up under Ms Galea’s fingernails.

In police interviews Wills denied killing Ms Galea, blaming his aunt and mother

Both women denied responsibility for the death in police interviews.

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