Sydney, Australia woman who "spontaneously" murdered boyfriend in "fatal explosion of emotion" sentenced

Monday, March 13, 2023

Darlinghurst Courthouse, where Musa was sentenced, on December 20, 2014.
Image: Sardaka.
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On Friday, Jackline Sabana Bona Musa, a Sydney, Australia woman who fatally crushed her adulterous boyfriend in 2020, received a 20-year prison sentence, including time served; she is set to be eligible for parole in 2034.

Sentencing Justice Richard Button described the murder as "spontaneous and not premeditated", but also a "grave example of an extremely grave offence".

He continued: "As I have said, the offence was spontaneous and not premeditated. The intention to inflict serious harm existed for only a matter of seconds. One cannot be satisfied of an intention to kill.

"On the other hand, the life of a fellow human being was violently extinguished in a place where he was entitled to feel safe. His final ordeal was short, but terrifying, and he surely died in enormous pain. What occurred was a deeply self-centred imposition of violence on a fellow human being."

Button called Musa's early life and childhood "grossly deprived and traumatic".

He said: "[Musa] was born in Sudan in north-eastern Africa […] She grew up in a village that, for example, had no running water. Her family was often short of food. Her father died when she was very young, and her mother, a deeply religious woman, devoted herself to the care of her large family in poverty-stricken circumstances.

"I accept that she suffered many traumatic, indeed horrific experiences over the years. By way of example, whilst she was part of a convoy fleeing the fighting, the vehicle in front of hers was blown up, and other persons were injured and killed before her eyes."

In 2004, Musa arrived in Australia as a refugee, with many of her family members dead from poverty and war. She was, by that time, afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder and fluctuating levels of anxiety and depression.

The justice also noted the former aged care worker had "been employed consistently", "cared for her four children and her aged mother" and "completely abstained from drugs and alcohol".

Concluding his sentencing remarks, Justice Button said: "This case is a tragedy from many perspectives: primarily, from that of the deceased, of course, and those who loved him and honour his memory; but also from the perspective of a previously law-abiding offender, her family, and Australian society generally.

"In short, a life was taken simply because a fellow human being was exercising autonomy in romantic matters […] Deplorable violence was inflicted upon him, whereby he was crushed to death. There is no remorse on the part of the offender, even now. To be weighed against those matters is that, after an early life of great deprivation and disruption, the offender made a successful fresh start in this country, something especially to her credit in light of the psychological problems that had been inflicted upon on her. They played their part in this fatal explosion of emotion."

Wentworth Point on April 13, 2020.
Image: MDRX.

Button said: "I believe that, many years from now, the offender has a good chance of becoming a valued member of the community again. By way of my sentence, I seek to balance and reflect that multitude of countervailing factors."

The killing occurred on June 27, 2020 in the suburb of Wentworth Point, at a garage along Hill Road and near Half Street.

According to Button, that morning Musa thought her boyfriend, 31-year-old Payman "Paul" Thagipur, was economically abusing her, feeling "cut off" from him.

An acquaintance told her to send Thagipur a text message; the then 44-year-old Musa texted him: "Hi, how are you? Am concerned and worried. I just wanted to know that you're not hurt or sick. If there's something I did wrong, I would like to apologise. Please get in touch".

Thagipur did not respond.

In the early evening, Musa unsuccessfully searched for Thagipur in several cafés and restaurants in Granville. She then drove to his apartment in Wentworth Point. After several failed attempts to enter the secured garage, she tailgated another vehicle through the roller door, which struck the roof of her Toyota Kluger SUV.

After parking in her usual space, next to Thagipur's allocated one, she told a resident inspecting the damaged roller door she lived in "apartment 201", Thagipur’s unit and her key fob was "not working". Musa asked to be let into the building and the resident obliged.

Thagipur answered the door for her in his underwear and Musa entered to see another woman sitting inside.

Musa asked the other woman, "is it your turn today" and spat in her boyfriend's face, before returning to her car, with Thagipur entering the garage behind her.

Button argued that, over "several seconds", Musa "spontaneously formed an intention to inflict really serious physical injury" on the victim.

Musa sped forward and crashed into the 31-year-old Thagipur, continuing through a bollard, before colliding with and pinning him against a brick wall. Musa approached Thagipur as he was "gasping for air".

After about one minute, she called emergency services, telling the operator: "I kill someone here. It was a terrible accident. I didn't mean it […] I just hit him and he's dead."

Police treated Thagipur at the scene until paramedics arrived.

In footage released by 7NEWS, one officer says: "Mate, keep breathing, keep breathing. Don't stop breathing." Another says: "You're doing well mate, you're doing well. Stay with us."

Leading Senior Constable Steve Nevill told the Supreme Court he saw Thagipur lying on the ground, and "there was a lot of blood on the ground underneath him." Nevill said Thagipur was making gasping-like noises, but these were postmortem sounds, not breathing.

Concord Hospital on December 5, 2010.
Image: Chiefmanzzz.

Musa claimed, "I was driving out and he came in front of me […] This person is my boyfriend. The whole week I am trying to get hold of him, he never reply […] He stopped talking to me […] I was hurt inside as a woman."

Musa was arrested and taken to Concord Hospital under police guard for mandatory testing.

At her murder trial last year, defence counsel Madeleine Avenell SC did not dispute that Musa had driven at Thagipur, but insisted that she did not drive towards him with murderous intent or in an unlawful manner amounting to manslaughter.

Avenell said: "What is in dispute is that Ms Musa saw Mr Thagipur before colliding with him, that she deliberately drove at him as he walked through the car park and that she intended to cause him grievous bodily harm or intended to kill him.

"She denies the allegation of murder […] She denies that the circumstances were such as to amount to an unlawful and dangerous act of manslaughter."

Prosecutors argued that the homicide was committed in a "state of anger".

"The crown case is the accused, seated in the driver’s seat of her car, [was] very angry about what had just happened – seeing the deceased in his underpants and seeing another woman in the apartment," Crown prosecutor Emma Blizard told the court.

Blizard continued: "In this state of anger, she drove her car out of the parking spot very quickly, she drove her car at the deceased deliberately as he walked towards her through the carpark."

On December 12, Musa was found guilty of murder by a jury. As the decision was read, she began sobbing and collapsed; paramedics examined her, but she was not hospitalised.