An Australian man with a history of violence on Wednesday was found guilty of murdering his Canadian fiancée by throwing her from the couple’s 15th floor apartment in Sydney.
Simon Gittany murdered Lisa Harnum during a “fit of rage” on July 30, 2011 after discovering the former ballerina was planning to break off their engagement and return to Canada.
Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum delivered the guilty verdict, along with a scathing assessment of Gittany’s character, to a packed courtroom after deliberating for five hours.
"There can be no doubt the accused was controlling, dominating and at times abusive of Ms Harnum," McCallum said.
"The force of his jealous and controlling personality met mixed reaction from Ms Harnum, who was at times defiant and at times submissive to an inexplicable degree.
"By the end of July 2011, these tensions had reached a point of crisis.”
McCallum rejected Gittany’s version of events as “inherently implausible.” He said Harnum had climbed over the balcony of their upmarket apartment and plunged to her death, but forensic specialists failed to find fingerprints on the railing.
During the three-week trial, the court heard evidence that Gittany had monitored Harnum’s text messages and installed security cameras inside their apartment to monitor her every move.
Just seconds before Harnum’s death, Gittany was caught on one of his own security cameras restraining his partner after she tried to escape.
After the verdict was read out, Gittany’s current girlfriend screamed and was escorted from the courtroom.
Harnum’s mother, Joan, who had flown to Sydney for the verdict, spoke to journalists outside the court.
"There's no winner in this case. Two families have had their lives dramatically changed forever," she was quoted as saying.
Gittany will be sentenced on Feb. 5.