UK & World News

  • 11 February 2014, 13:08

Simon Gittany Jailed Over High-Rise Murder

An Australian man has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for throwing his fiancee off the 15th-floor balcony of their Sydney apartment.

Simon Gittany, 40, will spend at least 18 years in jail, with the judge describing him as jealous and possessive and someone who had shown no remorse.

As the sentence was read out a member of Gittany's family yelled: "In the name of Jesus Christ he won't do any of that time", before being removed from the court.

Gittany had previously been found guilty of killing his Canadian girlfriend, 30-year-old former ballerina Lisa Harnum, after he had discovered she was planning to leave him.

Justice Lucy McCallum said: "By December 2010, Ms Harnum was being subjected to a degree of scrutiny and direction from him that was overbearing."

The court had seen CCTV footage of Gittany dragging Ms Harnum in the corridor outside their flat on the night she died in July 2011.

She was heard yelling: "Please help me, help me, God help me."

Gittany had installed cameras and used a computer programme to monitor Ms Harnum's text messages and emails.

He maintained she had climbed over the balcony threatening to commit suicide, and then slipped.

Chaos erupted outside the courtroom as the family emerged into a media scrum. They declined to answer any questions.

Gittany's new girlfriend Rachelle Louise, who has signed a TV deal, was a notable absentee from Tuesday's proceedings.

Last week she staged a bizarre protest outside court with placards proclaiming Gittany's innocence.

Reporters said another woman celebrated when the sentence was handed down, shouting "off the balcony you go" to Gittany.

Gittany's solicitor Abigail Bannister said her client would appeal.

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