Candice Harper and Benjamin McCartin were jailed on Tuesday for fatally stabbing Ricky Rowlands, 46, on a Melbourne CBD street in October 2020.
The killers, who were found guilty of murder by a jury in December 2022, had been staying at the Ibis Hotel on King Street, which was housing the homeless during COVID-19 lockdowns.
On the evening of October 10, Rowlands, who shared a daughter with Harper, showed up at the hotel looking for a fight, Justice Stephen Kaye told the Supreme Court of Victoria.
“He is affected by alcohol and is acting in an aggressive and provocative manner,” he said.
McCartin and Harper’s boyfriend, Jamie Holt, were standing outside when Rowlands arrived and placed McCartin in a headlock before throwing him onto a parked car.
After that fight, McCartin and Holt went back inside the hotel while Rowlands stayed outside.
He tried to get into the building to continue fighting with the pair, but a security guard refused him entry.
About an hour and a half later, the trio left the hotel and met up with another man, Dale Miller, who provided the group with a knife.
McCartin, Holt and Harper fought again with Rowlands, with the brawl spilling into the middle of traffic on King St.
Holt hit Rowlands in the head with a glass bottle before McCartin, Holt and Harper pulled him to the ground and held him there.
McCartin stabbed Rowlands three times in the stomach.
Seriously wounded, he got to his feet and tried to punch Harper, before collapsing.
The two men fled, but Harper remained and stood over Rowlands as he laid bleeding in the gutter. “You f—ing dog,” she yelled at him. He died in hospital the following day.
“By your criminal actions you, McCartin and Harper with Holt, have taken the life of Ricky Rowlands,” Justice Kaye said.
“Such conduct will be met with a stern sentence involving the deprivation of the offender’s right to liberty in society for a substantial period of time.”
Rowlands was violent with Harper throughout their relationship.
Police intervened at least 13 times, including when she suffered cuts needing stitches, the court was told.
Justice Kaye took into account Harper’s attempts to get Rowlands to leave before the stabbing, the domestic violence perpetrated by him and her difficult upbringing.
He jailed her for 18 years and she must serve a minimum of 13 years before she will be eligible for parole.
McCartin, who has a lengthy and violent criminal history, was sentenced to 22 years and must serve at least 16 before he can apply for parole.
Holt will be sentenced at a later date as he is awaiting psychiatric assessment.
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