Des Campbell, who murdered his wife for her money. Supplied file pic.
As a former British policeman and an ambulance officer in Australia, he should have been both protector and saviour. But today Des Campbell was sentenced to 33 years in jail for murdering his wife by pushing her over a cliff to get his hands on her money.
Justice Megan Latham said in in a Sydney court that that his crime had ‘deception, duplicity and manipulation’ at its heart.
Campbell, 52, who served in the Cranley, Surrey, police force in the mid to late 1990s, sat stoney-faced as the judge told him he would serve a minimum of 24 years without parole, meaning he would be an old man when he was released.
Referring to the time in 2005 when Campbell took his wife of six months on a camping holiday and pushed her from the 170ft cliff south of Sydney, the judge said: ‘Janet’s death must have been truly awful.
‘The position of her shoe print and the broken tree branch…suggests that she was conscious and aware of her fate for some short period of time before she fell.’
The court had heard previously that Campbell, who emigrated from the UK to Australia with his parents as a child but returned as an adult to join the police force, had murdered his wife in a calculated and greed-fuelled crime to get hold of her money.
Describing Campbell’s culpability for the crime as ‘extreme’, the judge said: ‘The circumstances under which Janet Campbell met her death demonstrates the offender’s sustained callousness toward her for nothing more than monetary gain.’
During his trial, the court had heard from one of Campbell’s former lovers, 59-year-old former Surrey traffic warden June Ingham, who claimed he had kept money she had invested in a house with him in Australia – and that he had broken off their relationship in a text message.
Later while working as an ambulance officer in Australia he married Janet Fisicaro, from a farming community in the New South Wales outback town of Deniliquin. Janet, 49, had been left well off when her first husband died – and it was her money that Campbell had targeted, the court heard.
Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC, compared Janet’s murder to a contract killing and asked the jury to reject Campbell’s claims that she fell to her death accidentally after leaving their cliff-edge tent in the hours of darkness to go the toilet. The jury returned their guilty verdict of murder in May this year.
During his relationship with Janet, the court heard, Campbell had carried on affairs with other women – and after her death he did not even attend her funeral.
A week after the murder, he booked a holiday with one of his girlfriends and a few months later he travelled to the Philippines where he met the woman who was to become his fourth wife.
Justice Latham, whose decision was shown live on tv, sentenced Campbell to the 24-years non-parole period ‘in recognition of the deliberate taking of a life’.
Outside the Sydney Supreme Court, Janet Campbell’s brother Kevin Neander said his sister would not hurt a fly.
‘I just hope that on that day up there, on that hill, that she didn’t suffer as long as this bloke is going to suffer for the next 24 years of his mongrel life.’
Turning to a tv camera, Mr Neander added: ‘I hope Des is watching this – I just reckon you are as low as a snake’s guts.
‘I hope you suffer and look over the top of your shoulder for the next 24 years, mate.’