Life Term for Man Who Killed Wife Because She Didn't Want Him to Join ISIS

An Australian man has been sentenced to life in prison for stabbing his wife to death in front of their three young children, in what police believe was a domestic dispute over his wish to join ISIS in Syria.

The 36-year-old man, who cannot be named in order to protect his children, will be eligible for parole in 30 years, Australia's ABC News network reported. He pled guilty to the murder charge.

The man's 27-year-old wife was stabbed to death at the family's home in the Melbourne suburbs in July 2016. One of the children told detectives that his mother's "body was nothing but blood" after the attack.

The woman's body had multiple knife wounds and showed evidence of blunt force trauma. The ferocity of the assault was such that her right eye had been gouged out and two of her fingers cut off. An autopsy found multiple old scars on her body, suggesting that domestic abuse was routine. The court heard that she most likely bled to death.

The children said their father wrapped the body in electrical tape and plastic before hiding it in the trunk of his car. He then put his children in the car and drove to nearby grassland where he dumped the body. Afterwards, he took the children—then aged 2, 4 and 6—to a bakery for pastries.

ISIS flag
File photo showing a mural bearing the ISIS flag in Mosul, Iraq, on March 1, 2017. The man had reportedly told his brother-in-law that he wished to travel to Syria to join the group. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

The body, which was found by a member of the public, could not be immediately identified because of the extensive injuries. Police needed to use DNA testing to confirm who it was.

Police said the man had previously told his brother-in-law that he argued with his wife over a desire to join ISIS in Syria. The court was told that the man had sliced his wife's hand with a knife six months before her death.

Supreme Court of Victoria Justice Lex Lasry said the "prolonged and vicious attack" was "grotesquely violent" and "the the culmination of months, if not years, of physical violence."

"The very thought of a child being able to describe their father slaughtering their mother is beyond belief," Justice Lasry said. He noted that the impact on the man's children "will continue for the rest of their life."

The man was arrested in July 2016 when police went to his house to check on the welfare of his children. The police found that the children were bruised and injured, and that the house had smashed windows and blood-splattered walls.

The murdered wife had moved to Australia from Lebanon for an arranged marraige with the man. She became cut off from her family and friends, and fell under the strict control of her husband, 9News reported. He did not allow her to speak freely and decided what she should wear. He also refused to send his children to school and instead wanted them to learn about the Quran, jihad and weapons.

The man had a history of methamphetamine use and mental illness, and had previously received antipsychotic medication. His condition deteriorated in the first half of 2016, the court heard.

For six weeks in 2011, the man had a second wife that he married under Islamic law. She told a hearing that the man was controlling and paranoid, and believed that she was an Australian security services spy and that his first wife was in love with his brother. The second wife soon divorced the man.