"You waited until Eurydice was well into the dark reaches of Princes Park."
-Justice Stephen Kaye
It was the 12th of June 2018. A Tuesday. Twenty two year old Eurydice Dixon spent the night performing at a comedy club. As an aspiring comedian, Eurydice loved to do comedy gigs as and when they came up and that night, she performed at the Highlander Bar in Melbourne, Australia. That particular gig had become a regular slot for her and she had her own solo performance. Eurydice loved to perform and studied drama but she enjoyed the boldness that came with comedy. Comedians can challenge things that are happening in society head on and that's what Eurydice did.
Eurydice's mother died when she was just seven years old. She lived with her father and brother and after the gig, she decided to walk home. As part of the walk home, Eurydice had to cut through Princes Park and a number of football pitches. The street Eurydice walked on was well lit but when she entered the park, it was very dark and away from the street lights. Eurydice loved walking through the park barefoot. And as she entered Princes Park, wearing a long black dress, she slipped off her shoes and socks. Eurydice sent her boyfriend a text message:
“I’m nearly home. HBU?”
But despite Eurydice telling him she was nearly home, she never made it home that night. A few hours later, in the early morning hours of the 13th of June, at 2.50am, a passerby found Eurydice’s body in Princes Park. They called police and tried CPR but it was too late. Eurydice was dead.
The area surrounding the park was covered by a number of surveillance cameras and police released an image of a CCTV still of a man seen walking behind Eurydice. They wanted to speak to him.
Later that same day, a nineteen year old man, Jaymes Todd, called the police and told him his friends said that his face was on the news in relation to a woman's death but he was not involved in anyone's death. He went to the station with his girlfriend of four years and her mother and met his own mother at the station. When Jaymes got to the station, he told police that he did not know what happened to the woman but when police told him they were currently in the process of doing DNA testing, he told them there was no need to do any DNA testing as he was the person they were looking for and was the man seen on the CCTV footage.
Jaymes pleaded guilty to murder, rape, attempted rape and sexual assault.
There was no Trial in the case due to the guilty plea but there was a pre sentencing hearing and it was at that hearing that the Court heard what happened to Eurydice that day.
That day, the 12th of June, Jaymes finished his hospitality classes around 3pm. He went into the city with three friends and purchased vodka and rolling papers before heading to Batman Park. Jaymes also purchased a bottle of cider and some weed. When one of his friends went home, the three remaining men, Jaymes and his two friends, went to Southern Cross Station at around 8.30pm.
Before catching a Broadmeadows-bound train, Jaymes purchased a Jim Beam. He lived in Broadmeadows with his parents. Jaymes got off the train alone at Newmarket just after 9pm. His two friends were due to get off at different stops.
Jaymes headed towards Elizabeth Street at 10.43pm. That was where he first saw Eurydice. She was outside Woolworths store with her boyfriend Tony Magnuson. Jaymes went to McDonald’s and then to the intersection of Flinders and Swanston. Eurydice and Tony were there but Tony left to get on his tram.
Jaymes watched Eurydice as she began walking in the opposite direction to him. When she was halfway across Flinders Street he began following her. And he continued following her over an almost 2 and a half mile distance and for nearly one hour. Jaymes stayed at a distance of around 20 seconds behind her at all times and he occasionally stopped to roll a cigarette if Eurydice slowed down. They are seen on CCTV walking past Melbourne University at 11.54pm. A few minutes later, Eurydice text Tony as she walked through Princes Park at 12.02am. That was when she sent him the text “I’m nearly home, HBU?”. Within minutes of sending that text message, she was fighting for her life.
As Eurydice crossed the third soccer pitch, Jaymes approached her from behind, grabbed her by her hair and the back of her dress knocking her to the ground. Sitting on her chest, Jaymes used one hand to choke her and the other to forcibly remove her clothes. Eurydice struggled to get free and tried to get him off of her. She scratched his face, neck and shoulders but she couldn't push him off and he wouldn't stop. Jaymes raped Eurydice and tried to rape her a second time but when he couldn't get an erection, he strangled her to death, using two thumbs to close off her windpipe, for 5 to 10 minutes.
The Court heard that despite Jaymes initially telling police that he followed Eurydice because she was drunk and he wanted to see if she would do anything funny, his lawyer admitted at the pre sentencing hearing that he followed her because "her appearance was of a sexual appeal to him." The Autopsy revealed that Eurydice was not drunk. There was no trace of alcohol or drugs found in her system. The Court heard that Eurydice died of compression of the neck and asphyxiation, and also sustained blunt force injuries to the head and other parts of her body.
The Court heard what happened after Jaymes raped and murdered Eurydice.
Jaymes took Eurydice's phone and left the park. He slept on a bench at the Royal Park Station. When he woke up, he used the camera on Eurydice's phone to look at the scratches on his face . He returned to Princes Park where police had now gathered following the reports that a body had been found. Jaymes left the park and got a train home. On the way home, he had food and a coffee. He was home before 7am.
At home, Jaymes searched for “Princes Park” and opened an article about the discovery of a woman's body. He googled “strangulation and rape porn” and accessed a website and selected the category “Strangled and brutally raped” and “Brutal rape, choking till death strangled forced videos”. James continued to look up porn websites that morning and searched for brunette videos and “curvy emo girl”.
The Court heard that that wasn't the first time that Jaymes had accessed porn websites. In the year prior to Eurydice's murder, Jaymes had fantasies of violent sexual encounters and killings. He choked previous partners, with their permission, during sexual activity in the past but his online searches revealed that he was looking for something even more extreme. Despite functioning somewhat on a day to day basis, Jaymes had an obsession that began to take over his day to day life. He wanted to be a restaurateur and was doing a hospitality and training program at the Hester Hornbook Academy in Prahran and had a long term girlfriend but at night, he would stay up in his bedroom late watching snuff porn and coercive rape videos. Snuff porn is a genre where a violent sexual encounter takes place and the woman ends up dead. He was obsessed with porn and wanted more realistic scenes. Even after Eurydice's murder, Jaymes did not stop. He went home to view porn and when he was in prison, he told his father that he was very disappointed at the way the crime took place and he felt like s**t immediately after it. He hoped it would be better next time.
In deciding on a sentence, there were certain factors the Court had to consider. One was in relation to the fact that Jaymes had been diagnosed with mild autism spectrum disorder and ADHD when he was a child.
Two experts testified at the pre sentencing hearing. The Expert for the Defense, Dr David Thomas, and the expert for the Prosecution, Professor James Ogloff, agreed on a number of things in relation to Jaymes.
They agreed that Jaymes had sexual sadism disorder (SSD) and that it was the SSD that drove his offending. Sexual sadism is the infliction of physical or psychologic suffering on another person to stimulate sexual excitement and sexual sadism disorder is sexual sadism that causes significant distress. While they agreed there is no causal link between autism and offending, Dr Thomas believed his autism relevantly interacted with his SSD and resulted in the offending. This, he believed, happened as it made him more rigid in the pursuit of his fantasy.
Professor Ogloff believed that as Jaymes was high functioning, his SSD alone was the relevant consideration.
The Defense asked the Court to also take into account their argument that Eurydice's murder was not planned. They argued that their client was attracted to her but did not decide to kill her until the very moment that it happened.
Jaymes was sentenced to life in prison and must serve thirty five years before being able to apply for release on parole. In addition to life imprisonment, he was sentenced to eleven years' jail for rape, seven years for attempted rape and two years for sexual assault and will serve those sentences concurrently with the life sentence.
Justice Kaye said:
"The sheer terror that Eurydice must have experienced … is unimaginable. Eurydice was then doing what she — and any other person in our society — is entitled to do, namely walking peacefully in a public area of our city. She was vulnerable and in the circumstances defenseless. In a most callous and cowardly manner, you set upon her, sexually assaulting and humiliating her, before cruelly strangling her to death. You intentionally killed Eurydice Dixon by choking her to death in order to gratify your perverted and depraved sexual desires."
Jaymes appealed his life sentence on the grounds that it was excessive. His lawyer argued on Appeal that there were eight strong mitigating factors that should have been taken into account when he was sentenced:
1. His relative youth at the time of the murder (he was 19)
2. His guilty plea- he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity
3. He made admissions to the police when they interviewed him
4. His remorse
5. His good character-he had no criminal record prior to that offense
6. His background of severe neglect (argued that he lived in a house of squalor which was filthy and would have had an impact on him emotionally) and suicidal behavior
7. His Autism played a role in his excessive behavior
8. Protective custody issues
His Appeal was dismissed for, as the Judge in the case put it, the “unspeakably loathsome and cruel” rape and murder of Eurydice Dixon.
In a further act of violence against Eurydice Dixon, a second man was arrested in relation to her case. Andrew Nolch was sentenced to five months in prison for drawing a 25m penis on her memorial. It was reported that Andrew did it to attack feminism and promote his anti vaccination message, namely that he believes vaccines cause autism.
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"When someone just disappears for no reason, it's shocking, it's devastating. I just feel like my life stopped that day and I've just been in a tailspin ever since."
- Adam Vaughan, Janine's brother
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