Father who ‘learned commando knife skills’ allegedly stabs his ex-wife to death during a courthouse mediation meeting
- Paul Turner allegedly stabbed his ex-wife Sarah Thomas five times in 2016
- Ms Thomas was stabbed three times in her neck, she died within seconds
- The pair were at a mediation session with a registrar in a Perth court complex
- Ms Thomas had gained custody of their two children about one week earlier
A man who learnt ‘commando’ knife skills before stabbing his ex-partner in a Perth court complex hit bone four times and severed a neck artery, causing her to die within seconds, his murder trial has heard.
Paul Gary Turner, 43, is accused of stabbing Sarah Marie Thomas five times, including three times in her neck, at Joondalup Justice Complex in December 2016.
The 33-year-old also suffered a slash across her left index finger, which was a typical defensive wound, forensic pathologist Clive Trevor Cooke told the Supreme Court of WA on Friday.
She had gained custody of their two children about one week earlier.
The pair were at a mediation session in a small room with a registrar, trying to resolve Turner’s claim Ms Thomas owed him money.
When the registrar asked if she would like to make an offer, she allegedly replied no.
Paul Gary Turner, 43, (middle) is accused of stabbing Sarah Marie Thomas five times, including three times in her neck, at Joondalup Justice Complex in December 2016.
Prosecutor James Mactaggart said that as the registrar went to walk out of the room, Turner repeatedly stabbed Ms Thomas with a knife that he’d hidden on him.
He had martial arts skills and been trained in commando knife combat techniques, so knew how to use the weapon to inflict the most damage, Mr Mactaggart said.
The pathologist told the court Ms Thomas was stabbed through her left ear and the knife hit her skull, damaging the surface of her brain.
‘That requires a fair bit of force,’ Dr Cooke said on Friday.
Two stabs to her neck were stopped by her spine, while another, which severed her carotid artery, would have caused ‘torrential, immediate’ and unsurvivable blood loss, Dr Cooke said.
He estimated she would have been unconscious within 10 seconds and died moments later.
Ms Thomas was also stabbed below her right cheek bone, with the knife hitting her upper jaw, and to her right shoulder.
A post-mortem photo of the deceased was exhibited after a warning from the judge, prompting people in the public gallery to sob.
CCTV footage of the court waiting room that was played to the jury showed Turner moments before the alleged murder.
Afterwards, he walks back into the waiting room, sits on the floor and is then frisked by authorities.
His defence counsel Lisa Boston did not give an opening address to the jury.
The trial continues.
The pair were at a mediation session in a small room with a registrar, trying to resolve Turner’s claim Ms Thomas owed him money. Ms Thomas (left) had gained custody of their two children about one week earlier