A jury has taken just over an hour to convict a man of the stabbing murder of his girlfriend on New Year’s Eve on the NSW south coast.
Petero Baleinapuka, 58, denied stabbing Angela O’Donnell, 53, at least a dozen times in her Woonona apartment on December 31, 2019.
The drunk and erratic driver led police on a high-speed pursuit before crashing and telling police: “I killed her, I didn’t mean to hurt her, I loved her”.
But during his NSW Supreme Court trial at Wollongong, he retracted these statements and said he was lying and had found his partner with her fatal stab wounds.
He said she told him to “leave her to die,” so he hugged her then ran away in shock.
But the jury rejected this story on Thursday and returned its guilty verdict before Justice Desmond Fagan.
With “absolute ferocity” Baleinapuka used a kitchen knife to stab Ms O’Donnell at least 14 times, and left her to bleed out.
He then left a bloodied trail inside her home as he tried to patch up a wound he sustained during the vicious attack and drank several beers before fleeing the crime scene.
His partner’s final cries “Petero, Petero, look at me,” were captured on about 10.38pm on CCTV footage outside her apartment.
Baleinapuka and Ms O’Donnell had met in October, and had only been living together in her apartment for one month before her death.
The couple’s movements on the day leading up to the murder were “unremarkable,” and her family had never been told of any physical violence between them before.
Justice Fagan in discussing his sentencing said evidence in court had led him to believe “he’s a very dangerous man”.
Baleinapuka is due next in court for a sentence hearing on April 22.
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