Broomstick killer gets 3.5 years

COLIN Dent was lying dead or dying on his couch when a neighbour asked: “You right there, bro?”

Sitting nearby, Frances Margaret Oram said Mr Dent was all right and it “was just the way he slept”.

What the neighbour didn’t know was that Oram had just brutally attacked her de facto partner with a broomstick.

The frail 60-year-old suffered broken ribs, a fractured sternum, injuries to his head including a blow to his nose and lip, cuts and other bruising as a result of the attack.

A post mortem examination revealed swelling of the brain had caused Dent’s death and his injuries indicated Oram kicked or stomped on him.

After a police investigation Oram was charged with his murder.

But Oram, who has been in custody for about 18 months since Dent’s death in 2009, will spend only two more years in jail before she is eligible for parole.

Yesterday Justice Duncan McMeekin sentenced Oram to nine years jail with a parole release date of March 24, 2013, after the Crown on Monday accepted her guilty plea to manslaughter ahead of a murder trial set to start that day.

Oram, 51, who falsely claimed she was Dent’s carer, caught a bus to Rockhampton on the day of the assault to begin a day of drinking.

When she arrived at Mt Morgan that afternoon, the drinking continued with neighbours and relatives before she returned home.

Mr Campbell said neighbours heard Oram yelling and doors slamming around 7.30 that night, just before the attack.

The next day Dent was found lying on the ground in a pool of blood with a broom close by.

Mr Campbell said a neighbour visited Oram after the incident to drink with her and noticed Dent lying on the couch.

When police arrived at the premises the following day, Oram had denied her involvement and falsely claimed she had last seen him at midday the day before.

The court heard there had been a window of opportunity when Oram could have called emergency services and possibly saved Dent’s life.

Oram wasn’t forthcoming about showing the police what she was wearing and when her clothes were eventually taken from her, a white shirt hidden by a flannelette was stained with the victim’s blood.

In an interview with police, Oram finally said: “I must have hit him. We were having an argument. I hit him with a broom.”

Defence lawyer Stephen Kissick said Dent had threatened to kill Oram in 2009.

He said Oram had an extensive history of alcohol abuse and had not intended to kill Dent.

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