Caleb's killer gets 10 years jail
BREAKING: MITCHELL Anthony Winefield, the man found guilty of the manslaughter of Nambucca Heads teenager Caleb Jarrett, has been sentenced to a term of 10 years imprisonment.
The 45-year-old has already served two-and-a-half years in jail, meaning the earliest he’s eligible for parole is August 13, 2016.
NSW Supreme Court judge Justice Elizabeth Fullerton today handed down the sentence in the Bellingen Court House in front of a large public gallery, comprising family and friends of the deceased.
In her sentencing remarks, Justice Fullerton said she was satisfied in the jury’s finding last month that Winefield had acted "unlawfully, in excess of self-defence" during an altercation with the deceased in Nambucca Heads two years ago.
Mr Jarrett suffered multiple knife injuries, including a fatal stab wound, which an autopsy revealed pierced his heart.
He had been walking along Mann St with friends, on February 14, 2009 when he crossed paths with Winefield shortly before midnight.
Both men had been drinking that night, and Winefield had earlier had a domestic dispute with his partner.
The court heard the deceased swung his hand at Winefield’s utility, as he reversed out of a driveway next to his home.
Friends of Caleb’s, aged between 13 and 18, said Winefield jumped out of the car and confronted Caleb.
One witness told the court he saw the accused carrying a knife, before the fight.
Justice Fullerton said she reached her sentence on the strong weight of evidence against Winefield, referring to the high end of sentencing for the charge of manslaughter, which carries a maximum 25-years jail.
"I am satisfied with the jury’s verdict that it was the offender and not Caleb who was armed with the knife," Justice Fullerton said.
"I do not regard (Winefield) as a witness of truth, or see any weight to his claims to have acted in self-defence at any stage.
"I am satisfied it was the offender who struck the first blow.
After a 15-day trial, Winefield was acquitted of murder, but convicted of manslaughter found guilty of causing the death of Caleb Jarrett on March 16.
Under oath Winefield’s former defacto gave compelling and unchallenged evidence that he collected knives and "had one like that" referring to the prohibited spring-loaded flick knife produced in court as the murder weapon.
That same knife was found in Winefield’s possession by police when he was arrested in a nearby street.
Justice Fullerton said she believed the actions of the accused were "dangerous in the extreme" and "committed in the presence of children."
She expressed her sincere and deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Caleb Jarrett, ackowledging the impact, pain and loss his death has had on his community.
"I hope these proceedings bring a sense of closure. I only hope they can remember Caleb for the way in which he lived and not how he died," she said.