Eurydice’s death ‘an extremely cruel way of killing someone’
FAMILY of slain Melbourne woman Eurydice Dixon have come face-to-face with her killer as the first day of a two-day Supreme Court plea hearing began.
Ms Dixon's father, Jeremy, along with Eurydice's partner Tony Magnuson, were surrounded by family and friends in the courtroom.
Dozens of supporters filled the public gallery as Crown prosecutors detailed the final hours of the young woman's life.
The court heard Jaymes Todd had been drinking heavily with friends for several hours before loitering by himself outside Flinders St train station where he spotted Ms Dixon.
He followed her route through the city for about 54 minutes, stopping occasionally to roll a cigarette as not to raise suspicion and "giving his stops the legitimacy of casual observation".
Ms Dixon frequently walked home through Princes Park no matter the time and was known to enjoy walking barefoot through the park at night, the court heard.
Shortly after midnight on June 13, she stopped to remove her socks and shoes and began to walk across the soccer pitches.
She had crossed two pitches and had just stepped onto the third when Todd attacked her from behind.
Todd sat with his eyes closed as the court heard how he grabbed her hair and pushed her to the ground with such force it left bruising on her head.
Ms Dixon fought back, scratching him on the face.
He then sat on Ms Dixon's chest and used his knees to pin her arms to the ground, he ripped her clothes before raping her.
Todd strangled Ms Dixon to death on the soccer pitch and fled the scene with her mobile phone.
Her body was found by a man walking through the park about 2.50am who desperately performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
Hours after Todd raped, strangled and left Ms Dixon's body lying in Princes Park, he returned to the scene of the crime.
He was turned away by police who had since set up a crime scene and cordoned off large sections of the Carlton North park.
CCTV images of Todd were splashed across news that night and friends began contacting the teenager to ask what he had done.
Todd handed himself into police the following day and initially denied any involvement in Ms Dixon's death, saying the scratches on his face were from his cat.
He maintained this denial for an hour and 12 minutes and 660 questions, the court heard.
But eventually he cracked, telling police "I did it, I'll tell you everything".
At just 20-years-old and with no criminal history, Todd could be facing a life sentence for the brutal killing.
Todd's defence team argued that despite stalking Ms Dixon for almost an hour, he did not decide to sexually assault her until she stepped off the footpath and onto the grass of Princes Park.
The intention to murder her formed "spontaneously" while in the throes of the attack to further "subdue" her.
But Supreme Court Judge Stephen Kaye said the murder was not simply to avoid detection.
"It was something far darker … it was murder for sexual purposes," Justice Kaye said.
His honour said if he was satisfied the killing was pre-planned or "something that was culminated in his feverish mind", he would have to seriously consider a life sentence.
It comes as the court heard Ms Dixon lived an honourable life before she was brutally murdered.
Ms Dixon's older sister, Polly Cotton, said she was "gutsy, determined and clever".
Todd quietly sobbed as Ms Dixon's loved ones told the court of their horror and anguish following her inexplicable death.
Polly Cotton said she imagines her fear "so viscerally" she feels sick.
"I wish I could have saved her," she said.
"More than anything in the world, I want to see her."
Ms Dixon's boyfriend, Tony Magnuson, said he still suffers from flashbacks and nightmares.
"When I did fall asleep I would often wake up to the sound of her screams," Mr Magnuson said.
"There is no doubt in my mind I will never look at the human race the same way again," he said.
The court heard Todd had been fantasising about rape and strangulation for up to 18 months before Ms Dixon's death.
During a police search of his Broadmeadows home after his arrest officers discovered iPad search histories which include "rape and strangulation porn".
The court heard the then-teenager had watched such videos just six hours after he killed Ms Dixon.
Justice Kaye said these fantasies likely occupied his mind as he followed his victim from the city to the park.
Defence barrister Tim Marsh said help was unlikely to come for Ms Dixon once Todd launched his attack.
But Mr Marsh told the court it was hard to determine if Todd had intended to kill Ms Dixon or merely render her unconscious.
Justice Kaye disagreed, saying Todd admitted to strangling her for up to 10 minutes.
"It follows, as night follows day, that he intended to kill her," his honour said.
"It is an extremely cruel way of killing someone."
NATIONAL 24/7 CRISIS SERVICES