A coroner has urged the state government to consider introducing an indictable offence for choking, following an inquiry into the murder of a Sorell woman by strangulation.
Coroner Olivia McTaggart noted that New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Queensland had created a separate offence for the crime of choking, suffocation and strangulation, imposing a maximum jail term of between five and ten years.
In the early hours of February 1, 2014, Jodi Michelle Eaton, 28, was killed after a gathering at 3 Sage Court, Bridgewater.
Ms Eaton had gone to the gathering with her partner, Bozidar Jelenic.
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The pair got into an argument at one point in the night, at which point Mr Jelenic left Ms Eaton at the address.
By approximately 5.22am, most people had left the gathering and Ms Eaton was with Darren Michael Dobson in the living room, while Mr Vernon had gone to bed.
A violent altercation then broke out between Mr Dobson and Ms Eaton, which resulted in Ms Eaton sustaining blunt force trauma to the left side of her head.
She was then restrained before being strangled and killed.
On the night of February 3 that year, police investigators interviewed Dobson. Ms Eaton was still classified as a missing person at this stage.
Dobson told them he and Ms Eaton had had consensual sex after the gathering at 3 Sage Court. He denied harming Ms Eaton or knowing anything about where she may be.
His statement contradicted previous comments he had made to police and prompted police to declare Mr Vernon's home a crime scene.
On the previous night, Dobson had wrapped Ms Eaton's body in a deflated child's wading pool, securing the pool liner around her with duct tape.
With the help of his brother-in-law Jonathon Pearce, Dobson took the body to his uncle's property at Pelham, digging a shallow grave where he disposed of Ms Eaton's corpse.
Police enquiries eventually led to the 122 Sonners Road address at Pelham to be declared a crime scene, where the search for a grave began.
Mr Pearce eventually led police to the site where Ms Eaton was buried.
Upon later being examined at the Royal Hobart Hospital Mortuary, a forensic pathologist determined Ms Eaton had bruising of the forehead on the left side of her face, as well as on her chin and neck.
The pathologist determined the bruising on Ms Eaton's face strongly suggested she had died as a result of asphyxiation.
Alcohol and cannabis were detected in Ms Eaton's system, but it could not be determined whether she had had sexual intercourse before she died.
Dobson was charged with Ms Eaton's murder and was sentenced to life in jail with a non-parole period of 14 years.
In her findings following a coronial inquest into Ms Eaton's death, Coroner Olivia McTaggart noted that Dobson had a criminal history involving choking women.
In 1997, Dobson assaulted and raped a neighbour who had let him stay in the spare room of her house. She woke up to him sitting on top of her and strangling her. Dobson was sentenced to seven years' jail for the crimes.
On numerous other occasions in the ensuing years, Dobson was convicted of assaulting a number of former partners. Each of these incidents involved him clutching his victims by the throat.
When he killed Ms Eaton, Dobson was on bail for choking his partner.
"I recommend that the Tasmanian government give consideration to the enactment of an indictable offence of choking, suffocation or strangulation applicable to both the domestic violence situation and generally," Ms McTaggart said.
The indictable offence provided through the Criminal Code was rarely applicable to incidents of non-fatal strangulation in a number of situations, including those in a domestic violence context, Ms McTaggart pointed out