Fiery scenes erupt in court as trio are convicted of fatally stabbing a father: ‘Fat boy!’
- Trio convicted of father’s murder
- Ex-partner labeled ‘dog’ in court
A murdered father raised his hands in defense before being held and stabbed to death, a court has heard.
Ricky Rowlands, 46, died after being stabbed three times on the evening of October 10, 2020 near the Ibis Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD, which was used to house the homeless during Covid-19 lockdowns.
Rowland’s ex-partner Candice Harper, her new partner Jamie Holt and his friend Benjamin McCartin were convicted of murder late last year after a five-week trial.
Harper was labeled a “dog” and told by supporters of the victim to “rot” as she was led by dockside security to the court exit.
Ricky Rowlands, 46, died after being stabbed three times on the evening of October 10, 2020 near the Ibis Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD, which was used to house the homeless during Covid-19 lockdowns
Mr. Rowland’s ex-partner, Candice Harper, was among the trio who served time in prison for the murder
Judge Stephen Kaye, who sentenced Harper and McCartin in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, handed down long prison terms to the couple for what he described as an attack by three people on an unarmed person.
In his sentencing comments, Judge Kaye said McCartin stabbed Mr Rowlands in the lower back, chest and abdomen in a fight that took place near the intersection of King and Bourke Sts at about 9.30pm, with the latter two wounds inflicted when he was restrained by his ex-partner and Holt.
The court heard Harper “berate” the man she shared a daughter with, who sat in the public gallery for her mother’s punishment, for 60 seconds as he lay on the floor bleeding profusely.
Mr Rowlands was rushed to Royal Melbourne Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery but his injuries were deemed insurmountable and he died at around 6am the next morning.
McCartin fled the hotel that night down a fire escape after changing his clothes, but was arrested four days later, while Harper and Holt were arrested the night of the incident.
The court heard that Harper, McCartin and Holt all lived at the Ibis Hotel during the lockdown, while Mr Rowlands lived with his daughter in the inner-city suburb of Princes Hill.
On the night of his murder, Mr Rowlands had ventured into the CBD and the Ibis Hotel in a state of intoxication and had been encouraged several times by Harper to leave, the court heard.
But the court heard that her attitude towards her ex-partner, with whom she had been in a relationship for four years in the early 2000s, changed after he hurled her into the ground during the argument that later claimed his life.
Judge Kaye said Harper had made attempts to diffuse the situation and felt her moral guilt was less than McCartin’s.
Benjamin McCartin was ushered out of a prison van ahead of a pre-sentence hearing
Candice Harper’s new partner, Jamie Holt, will be sentenced at a later date
Harper, 46, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the murder of Mr Rowlands with a non-parole period of 13 years.
The court heard that she has committed previous offenses of magistrates’ jurisdiction, but had not served time in prison prior to this incident.
The court heard that McCartin, 43, had an extensive criminal history that included multiple prison terms.
Judge Kaye addressed him and said ‘it was you who took the lead and advanced on Rowlands’, saying he ‘lined him up’ before stabbing him.
McCartin was sentenced to 22 years in prison with a non-parole period of 16 years.
He was labeled a ‘fatboy’ when he was led out of court by a supporter of Mr Rowlands.
The court heard that Holt’s sentencing had been delayed while more psychological assessments were conducted.