Heartbreak after retrial granted in stab case
KIND, loving and family oriented is how friends described Corinne Henderson before she died.
The 32-year-old FIFO worker at the Cannington mine had just been promoted at work and was in the process of "meticulously designing her dream home" - before she was brutally stabbed to death.
"She was about to start a new chapter of her life," her close friend Sally Jupp told the Townsville Bulletin this week.
Her former partner, ex-soldier Dane Andrew Pilcher, was found guilty of murdering her in August 2017.
Pilcher was sentenced to life in jail for his crime, but the Bulletin revealed on Tuesday the Court of Appeal ruled his murder conviction be set aside and there be a retrial on the charge of murder.
It was found that the jury was not properly instructed by the trial judge to consider whether provocation had played a role in the killing.
"That partial defence arises under section 304 of the criminal code where a person does the act which unlawfully kills another in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation, and before there is time for the person's passion to cool," the judgment reads.
"Justice McMurdo concludes that there was a miscarriage of justice in the appellant's conviction of murder arising from the trial judge's failure to leave it to the jury to decide whether the claimed sudden provocation was based on anything done by the deceased to end the relationship or to change the nature of the relationship between the deceased and the appellant."
Ms Jupp first met Ms Henderson at a mine in Tasmania before rekindling their friendship after moving to Townsville.
She said she was unaware Mr Pilcher was appealing his conviction and was caught off guard.
"It was complete and utter shock," she said. "It's devastating to hear, my heart breaks for Corinne's family. I can't imagine what they're going through right now.
"I feel that the justice system has failed Corinne. And it's failed yet another woman by not protecting her integrity after she's gone."
Ms Jupp "struggles" to understand why and what has happened, anticipating the emotional toll another trial would have on Ms Henderson's family.
"Nothing can bring her back so why go over the evidence again and make her family relive the trauma when they are trying so hard to get on with their lives without their beautiful Corinne," she said.
"Corinne was driven, kind, loving, family orientated and so kind-hearted, she had so much ahead of her.
"They're trying to celebrate her young, driven, and amazing life rather than reliving the horrific trauma of her death."
During Pilcher's trial in the Townsville Supreme Court, the court heard he and Ms Henderson had met while working at a mine and had been in a relationship for about two years when she took steps to break up with him by sending messages and changing the locks at her unit.
The court heard on the day of Ms Henderson's death, she and her new partner had gone to the races where a photo of them was shared to Facebook and then forwarded by a third party to Pilcher.
Upon seeing the photo, Pilcher, who was heavily intoxicated, then took a taxi to Ms Henderson's home, sending the photo to a friend on the way who asked what he thought, to which he responded "kill them both".
"He testified that this was 'a very poorly chosen figure of speech, but it certainly wasn't meant to be taken literally'," the appeal judgment reads.
Pilcher broke into Ms Henderson's unit and confronted her while her new partner hid in the bathroom at her request.
Pilcher and Ms Henderson then became involved in an argument in which Pilcher smashed a vase of flowers he asked if her new partner had bought her.
"The appellant said, she stabbed him with the kitchen knife in the top of his left arm," the judgment reads.
"When this happened, he said, he "called her a f- king bitch" and "tried to get the knife from her". There was a struggle in which he was trying to get the knife from her, which he said "was all very brief … a matter of five, six, seven, eight seconds".
Pilcher testified: "All I was doing was trying to stop her from stabbing me again. I tried to grab her hands" and "it was all just very, very fast".
He said that he did not recall having "sole control of the knife at any stage during the wrestle, but it appears as though I did".
Ms Henderson suffered one fatal knife wound through the back of her chest and a further 20 other knife wounds to her face, throat, head, shoulder and hands.
According to the judgment, Pilcher called the police telling them he had stabbed Ms Henderson with a kitchen knife.
Ms Jupp "knew something terrible had happened" when she received a call from police at 4am the morning after Ms Henderson's death asking for her parents' contact details.
She found out the news shortly after.
Speaking generally, Claire Meikle from the North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Centre said women could face violence at any time in their relationships, but there were two periods which posed greater threats.
"A very high-risk time is when women are leaving relationships. Other risk times are when they're pregnant," she said.
"Women may feel too unsafe to leave a relationship at a particular time and sometimes too unsafe to access support services."
>>If you or someone you know needs help call:
DVConnect Womensline 1800 811 811 or 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732.
In an emergency call the police on Triple Zero (000).