11 February 2022

Remorseless murderer who killed Frankie Prineas to 'send a message' has sentence appealed

| Albert McKnight
Jayscen Newby

Jayscen Anthony Newby pleaded guilty to murder. Photo: Instagram.

Remorseless murderer Jayscen Anthony Newby, who “mutilated” Frankie Prineas, is having his “manifestly inadequate” jail sentence appealed.

On 11 January 2020, Newby stabbed 27-year-old Mr Prineas dozens of times in the Belconnen bedroom of Newby’s ex-partner.

Last June, the ACT Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Helen Murrell sentenced him to 20 years’ jail with a 10-year non-parole period meaning he could be released in 2030.

Afterwards, the sentence was said to be “manifestly inadequate”. Parties argued over the issue in the ACT Court of Appeal on Thursday (10 February).

“He mutilated an innocent person to terrify his domestic partner,” ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC said.

“He didn’t know this man. He plunged a knife into him 37 times to send a message to his domestic partner. It was an assertion of dominance and entitlement.”

Mr Drumgold said the now 28-year-old committed two acts of violence towards his ex before the murder.

First, he hit her, in Newby’s words, “hard enough to put her in her place”, while on the second occasion he smashed her phone.

Mr Drumgold said there was a three-month build-up to the murder, starting when Newby hid in the bushes when he saw a man leave his ex’s home.

READ ALSO Family describes pain of losing their beloved Frankie at the hands of a ‘coward’

On 10 January 2020, he texted her to say he knew someone was going to her place that night.

He stayed out drinking in Canberra, caught a taxi back to her home early on 11 January, and then let himself inside.

After hearing the woman and Mr Prineas in the bedroom, he took a knife from the kitchen, went into the room and turned the light on.

Mr Prineas stood up to face Newby, but Newby began to stab him before he or the woman did anything.

Frankie Prineas

Frankie Prineas has been described as a man with a “cheeky smile” who would “light up the room”. Photo: Supplied.

Chief Justice Murrell found Newby’s motivation was to dominate his ex and said he made the “outrageous” claim the woman had provoked him.

Mr Drumgold thought the primary victim was his ex’s partner “to inflict the pain that goes on, rather than ending her life”.

He said Newby had been doing exactly what she had been doing, which was seeing other people.

Also, he said there was “an expressed absence of remorse in this case”. In January 2020, for example, Newby had laughed when his mother told him details about the murder when they were reported by the ABC.

“Why are you laughing?” his mother asked.

“Because it’s hilarious,” Newby replied.

READ ALSO Stabbing murder sentence needs to be reviewed

During the submissions of David Campbell SC, appearing for Newby, Mr Campbell raised the case of Frederick Elijah Mercy Tuifua who murdered Canberra Comanchero commander Pitasoni ‘Soni’ Ulavalu at Kokomos in 2020.

Justice Michael Elkaim remarked the sentence in that case was also under appeal, and in that matter, Tuifua had expressed “massive remorse”.

Mr Campbell argued Newby had done the right thing by pleading guilty and he should get credit for that.

He said there was potentially evidence on which a defence team could have argued Newby had been provoked because he had told his ex not to have relationships with other people but she continued to have them.

He said it was unknown what impact such an argument could have had at a jury trial.

Mr Campbell also argued Newby was still serving a lengthy sentence and the end of the non-parole period was the earliest date he could ask to be considered to be released from custody.

Justices Elkaim, David Mossop and Robert Bromwich reserved their decision.

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