Life sentence for Farquharson

A Victorian father has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering his three sons by driving them into a dam on Father’s Day.

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Robert Farquharson, 41, was on trial for killing Jai, 10, Tyler, 7 and Bailey, 2, in September 2005 to get back at his ex-wife Cindy Gambino.

Farquharson, who was on an access visit with the boys, drove his car off the Princes Highway near Winchelsea in the state’s south-west and into the deep, dark dam.

He swam to shore, leaving the boys to drown in the car.

On Friday, Justice Lex Lasry jailed Farquharson for life and ordered he serve at least 33 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

In 2007, Farquharson was sentenced to life with no-parole, but won a retrial last year.

Justice Lex Lasry said the three boys must have met terrifying deaths.

“Your crimes have devastated a significant number of people,” he said.

“Primary among them is your ex-wife Cindy Gambino, the mother of these three children.”

During his trial, which began in May, Farquharson took the uncommon step of giving evidence during which he denied killing the boys.

He displayed limited emotion as he told jurors he had a coughing fit and blacked out.

In his closing address earlier this month, prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC, told the court Farquharson’s resentment and anger toward his ex-wife “drove him to commit an almost unspeakable act of vengeance”.

Mr Tinney said after murdering the children, Farquharson had the “delicious reward” of telling Ms Gambino about the deaths.

Farquharson won his retrial after the appeal judges found the prosecution failed to disclose a pending criminal matter for star witness Greg King and that there were errors in the way the trial judge presented evidence to the jury.

During the sentence hearing, Farquharson screwed up his face and repeatedly shook his head as the judge outlined his crimes.

He also exhaled heavily several times.

When Justice Lasry said he would sentence Farquharson to life with a minimum term, Ms Gambino shook her head and cried.

She also turned around to face her ex-husband and threw her fists in the air when the judge described how her new partner Stephen Moules had to identify the three boy’s bodies.

Outside court, Ms Gambino criticised Farquharson’s 33-year minimum term.

“It’s never going to be enough,” Ms Gambino told reporters.

“It’s a life sentence for me. It should be a life sentence for him,” she said.

Farquharson’s barrister Peter Morrissey, SC, told journalists his client intended to lodge an appeal.