A man repeatedly shook his head when a jury found him guilty of murdering a woman he once called “the love of [his] life”.
Michael O’Connell denied murdering his on-and-off-again partner Danielle Patricia Fleming, also known as Danielle Jordan, in an incident near her home in Melba in the early hours of Good Friday, 15 April 2022.
He faced an ACT Supreme Court trial that began last month before the 11 jurors started deliberating last Friday.
They returned to the courtroom with their verdict on Thursday (15 June) and announced they had found him guilty of the murder charge.
After Justice Belinda Baker thanked the jurors for their service and adjourned to begin the sentencing process, O’Connell was escorted out of the courtroom, still shaking his head.
When the trial began, the court heard it alleged that O’Connell and Ms Jordan, aged 40, had started arguing before he got into his Mitsubishi Triton while she sat cross-legged on its bonnet, and then he drove off.
A teenage witness claimed she heard a loud thump and then saw Ms Jordan lying on the road at the rear of his car, surrounded by blood.
O’Connell drove Ms Jordan to hospital and allegedly told staff that her injuries resulted from her falling down steps in her home.
Her injuries were deemed non-survivable and she was pronounced dead three days later.
In a recorded interview with police played to jurors, the teenage witness said O’Connell hadn’t been to Ms Jordan’s home for a while before he showed up there that night.
She said she went to sleep at the home but woke up at 2 am to the sounds of something smashing and saw the pair arguing.
She claimed a scuffle started when Ms Jordan grabbed his shirt as she didn’t want him to leave. She said O’Connell eventually left but came back around 4 am and she again woke up, this time to yelling.
The witness then claimed O’Connell got in the car and started driving away while Ms Jordan had jumped on the bonnet again, so the witness stood in front of the car to try to stop him.
However, he allegedly accelerated and she jumped out of the way while he drove off and turned down the street.
She said she then heard a screech and a thump and ran to see him picking up Ms Jordan, who was visibly injured.
She claimed he told her, “I’m sorry, mate, I didn’t mean to do it”.
The witness told him, “Take her to the f-ing hospital or I’m going to kill you”.
“I was really mad,” she said.
Jurors had heard that the basis of the prosecution case was not that O’Connell intended to kill Ms Jordan but that he was “recklessly indifferent” to her life.
The defence barrister told the jury that it was contested whether he was aware she was on his car, as well as whether she was on the bonnet or the back of the car.
O’Connell is being held in custody. The 43-year-old’s matter was adjourned to 22 June to begin organising a sentencing date.