Sydney Morning Herald

'I suppose I'll be going to jail'? Man pleads guilty to brutal attack on ex-wife

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 14/07/2019 17:00:00 Lucy Cormack
a person standing in front of a truck: The scene at Athlone Street in Cecil Hills, where Robynne Fraley, inset, was found seriously injured. © SuppliedThe scene at Athlone Street in Cecil Hills, where Robynne Fraley, inset, was found seriously injured.

Robynne Fraley didn't plan to be away from work for long. It was a Monday in 2016, and she was "just ducking home to get some things," telling a colleague as she left.

But the 54-year-old would not return to work. Instead, within 24 minutes she would be lying unconscious and bloodied on her garage floor in Cecil Hills.

When paramedics came to her aid they found seven stab wounds to her neck, lacerations to her head, collar and chest, her skull fractured.

From an emergency call made to the local police switchboard, first responders had some sense of what was waiting for them at the Athlone St home.

"I have just attacked my wife. I hit her on the head with a hammer. I am worried I killed her."

The caller was Robert Hilton Fraley, the man to whom Mrs Fraley had been married for 30 years.

Together they have four adult daughters.

"I'm leaving the garage door open, my kids will be home in half an hour. I'm leaving."

In a second phone call to police, minutes later, he would ask, "I suppose I'll be going to jail?"

Now, more than three years after the heinous attack, Fraley has pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm, with intent to murder.

The shock guilty plea came just five days into a re-trial against the 57-year-old in the NSW District Court after an initial trial was aborted last year.

Fraley was facing trial for the second time, charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent to murder, and alternatively, the lesser charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with the intent of causing grievous bodily harm on April 4, 2016.

a group of people posing for the camera: Robynne Fraley's daughter Courtney Khannara (centre) leaves the Downing Centre court with friends and family after giving evidence in the trial of her father for the violent assault on her mother. © Nick MoirRobynne Fraley's daughter Courtney Khannara (centre) leaves the Downing Centre court with friends and family after giving evidence in the trial of her father for the violent assault on her mother.

The court previously heard Fraley plead not guilty, claiming he had no intent when he used a blade and a hammer to attack his then-wife.

However, the case was aborted in October when a hung jury was unable to agree upon a verdict. A new jury was recently empanelled and the re-trial was on just its fifth day when Fraley pleaded guilty on July 1.

The near-deadly attack took place more than three years ago, following the breakdown of the Fraleys' 30-year marriage, a union repeatedly beset by affairs on both sides.

The couple having separated, Mrs Fraley had left the marital home to live with another man in the weeks prior to the attack and was returning to the family home to collect some of her belongings.

CCTV footage shows Mrs Fraley stayed in her car for a short period after she arrived at 12.30pm. In the home she was met by Fraley and an argument ensued.

By 12.39pm Fraley was calling the Green Valley Police Station to report the attack.

It is understood he then left the family home, taking his and Mrs Fraley's phones with him, and driving away in his wife's car.

Shortly after, police called Fraley on his phone again, seeking his whereabouts.

"I've lost it ... I went ballistic, I never thought I had it in me ... Is she dead?" he said.

It was just under two hours before police arrested Fraley, during a road pursuit where he was seen drinking alcohol and swallowing tablets from a white bottle.

A hammer and knife were also found at the foot of the front passenger seat of the car he was driving. Forensic testing would later reveal Mrs Fraley's blood on both items.

On April 5 Fraley participated in an electronically recorded interview with police and was subsequently charged.

As a result of her injuries, Mrs Fraley underwent 12 hours of surgery.

She has suffered amnesia and has no memory of the incident.

Her daughter Courtney Khannara told the Downing Centre District Court the family had been advised not to tell their mother how she had suffered her injuries.

"Until she asks us, we do not bring up anything," Ms Khannara said in 2018.

The night before the attack,  Fraley had dinner with two of his daughters. Both women still lived at the family home, one with her husband to whom she was then recently married.

After the three returned home, Fraley continued drinking and was later met in the kitchen by his son-in-law who returned home just after 10pm.

Appearing "flushed" and "agitated" Fraley said, "do you know that Robynne's found a place with someone?"

Slurring his words, he told his daughter's husband he had been attempting to ring Mrs Fraley, as he wanted her out of the house, but she had not answered the phone.

"I want to stab her in the throat and whoever she is with," he said.

Just over 12 hours later Mrs Fraley was unconscious on the garage floor, the victim of multiple knife and hammer blows at the hands of her husband.

Fraley remains in custody and will be sentenced on October 18.

Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636; Domestic Violence Line 1800 65 64 63; 1800-RESPECT 1800 737 732

14. heinäkuuta 2019 20:00:00 Categories: Liverpool Echo Sydney Morning Herald

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