Melbourne Wife-Killer's Sickening Conversation
A Melbourne man killed his ex-wife because of an argument over the heating in their family home, then tried to flee to Queensland because "what's been done has been done".
Mehmed Solmaz, 62, beat his former bride Fatma, 61, with a table leg until she was unconscious then strangled her with an electrical cord knotted around her neck, prosecutors told the Supreme Court in a pre-sentence hearing on Wednesday.
He pleaded guilty in August last year to murder, but confessed his crimes shortly after the killing, telling his sister and nephew within hours what he'd done in May 2017.
"There's nothing to talk about. What's been done has been done," prosecutor Ray Gibson SC told the court, recounting Solmaz's conversation with his nephew that night.
"I love you. I need to go away for few days but I'm going to hand myself in."
Solmaz was arrested at Goondiwindi two days later, when he told officers he knew he was being arrested "because I killed the wife".
Mrs Solmaz, who was in remission from leukaemia, suffered blunt force trauma to her head but died from strangulation.
Solmaz told police he didn't know how many times he'd hit her, but he put the cord around her neck after she "fell and fainted".
He claimed she had tried to hit him with the table leg first and that after killing her he panicked, ran away and had not intended to return to Victoria.
Solmaz's lawyer Gideon Boas said while the divorced couple remained living together for financial and cultural reasons, they had lived separate lives since 1993.
Their marriage was arranged in Bulgaria when they were teens and was "not an easy or happy marriage".
He said Solmaz had told a psychologist after the murder that he believed Mrs Solmaz wanted to poison him and had threatened to kill him in his sleep.
But Justice Andrew Tinney struggled to accept the submission and said even if there was any truth to the claims they would not mitigate the circumstances of the killing.
He said one of Solmaz's sons called him a "strange character" who was violent and controlling.
"He has always been very selfish and very authoritative. I remember him bashing mum numerous times," the son said.
Both sons were in court on Wednesday but do not have contact with their father.
Dr Boas said Solmaz's almost two years already spent in prison had been isolating because he barely spoke English and the single visit he had was "not a friendly visit".
Solmaz wants to return to Bulgaria but has been told his ex-family "will kill him" if he does, the lawyer added.
Solmaz is due back in court for a further hearing before being sentenced at a later date.