Victims’ group labels Peet sentence as “outrageous”

THE Hillier triple murderer’s 30- year sentence is the “final straw” for a homicide victims support group that has been calling for the state’s sentencing laws to be strengthened for over two decades.

The Homicide Victim Support Group (HVSG) of South Australia recently penned an open letter to South Australian parliamentary members with eight recommendations on how it thinks legislation
could be improved to serve the community interest.

Group spokeswoman Sharon McKell – whose daughter Emma Pawelski’s body was found at Mount Crawford in late 2005, in a cold case that hasn’t been solved – said Steven Peet’s sentence exemplified
the group’s concerns with current sentencing legislation.

“For us, it is the final straw as a group because we just feel that it was a bit outrageous and I think the community feels that, too,” she said.

“We are hoping that we can quickly get some changes into Parliament… they need more tougher sentences, we have to deter people from murdering people and it just doesn’t the way the sentencing is at the moment.”

Ms McKell said the eight recommendations included one to introduce a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence to be applied in cases involving multiple victims, such as Adeline Yvette Wilson-Rigney and her two children.

“Now, if you commit one murder the sentence in South Australia is 20 years minimum; so, in that case, he should have got 20 years for the first murder and at least the minimum of 10 for the second and third victims, if not more,” she said.

“You just don’t take the lives of two innocent little children, the way he did, and get 10 years for each of their lives.

“For their families, that is just shocking to look at – that is all their lives were worth, as far as the justice system is concerned – and we are just really outraged as a group that this is what is happening and it does really need to be looked at very quickly.”

Ms McKell said the HVSG included family members of the victims of the 2010 Kapunda triple murders, who were still outraged over the 35-year sentence handed to Jason Alexander Downie.


Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.