17 August 2023

Shay Murphy's decade of abusing four women ends with over 14 years' jail

| Albert McKnight
man leaving court

Shay Kahu Murphy, 32, was found guilty of nine charges at the end of his Supreme Court trial earlier this year. Photo: Albert McKnight.

CONTENT WARNING: This article refers to sexual and family violence.

A man who spent 10 years manipulating and controlling four ex-partners while he repeatedly sexually or physically abused them has been sentenced to more than 14 years’ jail.

Shay Kahu Murphy was convicted of 17 charges over the abuse, some of which ACT Supreme Court Justice David Mossop said were in the worst category for such offences.

On Thursday (17 August), which was also the long-time Canberra Hospital wardsman’s 32nd birthday, the court heard he’d had relationships with his four victims over a decade.

During an argument, Murphy told Anne* to cut herself with a knife, so she did, while he used house keys to cut her himself on another occasion. He also raped her when she was a virgin.

His abuse of Belinda* included chasing her down and punching her in her thighs and genitals while telling her “I hope you never have children”, pressing his forearm into her neck until she struggled for air, and waterboarding her.

He forced her to have a cold shower and wouldn’t let her dry off before raping her, then also raped her on another occasion before telling her it had been “a real turn-off” that she had been crying.

When Belinda told him she wanted to break up, he said “If you’re going to leave me anyway I’ll give you one for the road”, then repeatedly punched her in the stomach.

READ MORE Ex-partner inflicted ‘unimaginable’ abuse on four women over a decade

Murphy insulted Charlotte* and accused her of being a sex worker before choking her and throwing her to the ground. He also repeatedly pushed her and spat into her eyes when he had a cold.

He admitted grabbing Diana* and throwing her to the ground, causing her to hit her head.

Justice Mossop said Murphy was emotionally manipulative, verbally abusive, aggressive and conducted a regime of control during the relationships.

“She would do what he told her because she was scared of the consequences if she did not,” he said of Anne.

He said Anne “bravely” recounted the “awful” details of Murphy’s conduct during his trial, which was held earlier this year, and thought the interview she had recorded with police was one of the most compelling such interviews he had seen.

He said the evidence Belinda had given during the trial was also compelling and painted a disturbing picture of the malevolent, manipulating and controlling conduct.

On the other hand, the judge described some of Murphy’s evidence as self-serving and unreliable.

Murphy was born in New Zealand, faced violence in his childhood, had a history of alcohol abuse and drug use and faces the prospect of deportation when he is released from custody.

He admitted having deep-seated paranoia about being cheated on and Justice Mossop said “something” must have led to his behaviour.

Murphy was found guilty of the offences against Anne and Belinda, then pleaded guilty to the offences against Charlotte and Diana.

READ ALSO Father allegedly threatened to hurt his newborn baby at Canberra Hospital

His convictions included three counts of sexual intercourse without consent and nine counts of assault, as well as single counts of inflicting actual bodily harm, causing grievous bodily harm by a negligent act and choking.

He was sentenced to a total of 14 years and two months’ jail, with a non-parole period of eight-and-a-half years, which means he is eligible to be released from jail in August 2031 with time served.

While the identities of sexual violence victims are normally suppressed by law, in this case Murphy’s former partners have consented to naming him to ensure he can be publicly identified.

*Anne, Belinda, Charlotte and Diana are not their real names.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact:

Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support line – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800 or kidshelpline.com.au
MensLine Australia – 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au

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