Australian jailed for killing children on Father’s Day

2010-10-15 09:22

Sydney – An Australian was jailed for 33 years today for drowning his three young sons to get the satisfaction of telling his ex-wife they were dead.

A Melbourne court sentenced Robert Farquharson after deciding he deliberately drove his car into a pond during a Father’s Day access visit in 2005 in retribution for his wife leaving him.

Farquharson (41) swam to safety while 10-year-old Jai, 7-year-old Tyler and 2-year-old Bailey drowned in the submerged car.

The triple-murder trial captivated Australians because Cindy Gambino, Farquharson’s estranged wife, initially stood by her ex-husband, insisting it was an accident.

She described him as a model father and related how he had cried when she gave him a framed photograph of his three sons on the morning he called to pick them up for what proved to be his last access visit and their last outing.

Gambino changed her view, saying: “I don’t believe it’s enough. It’s never going to be enough. It’s a life sentence for me; it should be a life sentence for him.”

The court heard that Farquharson’s resentment at his wife leaving him drove him to commit what the prosecution characterised as “an almost unspeakable act of vengeance”.

Police testified that the car had been steered off the highway, across a field and into the pond at 80km per hour.

It was found with its lights switched off and the ignition keys removed. The eldest boy had managed to undo his seatbelt but his brothers were found still strapped in theirs.

Farquharson claimed he had a coughing fit and blacked out, coming round to find the car sinking.

After swimming to safety, Farquharson walked back to the highway, flagged down a car and insisted on being driven to Gambino’s house to tell her the boys were dead.

He did not call for an ambulance or ask for help in trying to reach his sons, insisting that they must be dead.

Police initially thought the deaths were a tragic accident but forensic evidence changed their minds.

They said the car would have floated for some time, only sinking the eight metres to the bottom when Farquharson opened the driver’s side door to get out of the vehicle.

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