A violent man with untreated schizophrenia strangled his girlfriend in a Melbourne alley for reasons he couldn’t “comprehend”, a court has heard.
Christopher Allen Bell admitted the brutal murder of 32-year-old Natalina Angok in the city’s Chinatown district in April 2019.
The 34-year-old was jailed for 21 years over the crime in the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday.
“Having killed her for reasons you yourself cannot comprehend, you left her alone and dead in an alleyway,” Justice Lex Lasry said.
Bell had been on a week-long booze and ice binge in the lead up to the crime, and was intoxicated on the night of the murder.
The pair had been at a pokies venue before they headed down a nearby laneway where they had an “animated” discussion, the judge said.
It was there, Bell told police, he “choked the life” out of the aspiring dental nurse.
“Natalina Angok’s death was futile,” Justice Lasry said.
Despite voluntarily seeking treatment for hallucinations at the Latrobe Regional Hospital, he was not treated or discharged with antipsychotic medication a week before the crime, the court was told.
The killer also had a long history of violence towards his partners, which happened before his mental illness diagnosis.
Bell had prior convictions for threats to kill and unlawful assault, and was breaching a domestic violence order on the night of the murder.
The judge found his schizophrenia played a significant role in the crime.
“But for your schizophrenia it would have been unlikely you would have killed the deceased in the way you did,” Justice Lasry said.
The killer believed Ms Angok was trying to “steal his soul” and destroy him, the court was told.
Her family had been left devastated and believed he should have been the one to protect her.
“Her decision to love him took her life away,” her cousins Dut and Aguer Athian told the court in a joint statement.
Bell must spend at least 15 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole and has already served 535 days.