"There was a big man came last night and he bashed mummy with a baseball bat."
-Aron Siermans, Sharons' son
It was the 6th of April 2013. A Saturday. At 10.30 am that morning, Anne Bruce drove to the home of twenty nine year old Sharon Siermans as she hadn't heard from Sharon and was worried. Sharon lived in a house on Doveton Street in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia with her four year old son Aron. Anne was Aron's paternal grandmother. She spoke to Sharon almost daily and had spent the afternoon with her the previous day. They had lunch and had arranged to meet on the 6th of April but Anne hadn't heard from her which was unusual. Anne knew that after they met the day before, Sharon went to her parents, John and Denise Sierman's house, for dinner with Aron and they left there at 7.45pm. That was the last time anybody had heard from Sharon.
Sharon worked from home. She had initially worked for a commercial cleaning company for a number of years and that was where she met Aron's father. They lived together for three years but the relationship didn't work out and Sharon went on to complete a nail technician course and she opened a studio at her home so that she could support her young son. She was a talented artist and close to her parents, Anne and her three older brothers. She was loyal and responsible and that's why Anne knew something was wrong as it was so out of character for her not to be in touch when they had arranged to meet.
Sharon Siermans and her son Aron
Anne drove to Sharon’s house with her boyfriend. When they arrived at Sharon's house, Anne's boyfriend waited in the car and Anne walked up to the back of the house and opened the back door. When she entered the kitchen, she saw Aron. He was wearing his pajamas. Anne asked him where Sharon was. He pointed at the passageway and said:
"Mummy's up there."
It was at that point that Anne noticed that there was blood on the floor and against the door. She asked Aron where the blood was from and he told her:
There was a big man come last night and he bashed mummy with a baseball bat. Mummy won't wake up to give me any breakfast."
Anne went outside and asked her boyfriend to check on Sharon inside her bedroom. When he went into her bedroom, he found her lying on the floor with a blanket covering her legs and hips. She wasn't breathing. She had been savagely beaten to death.
Police traced Sharon’s phone and got a break in the case just two days after her body was found. Police investigating the murder arrested and questioned thirty year old Jason John Dinsley on the 8th of April. As soon as they brought him to the station, he made full admissions. He told police that he was responsible for Sharon's death.
Police discovered that Sharon met Jason in January 2013 via the online dating website Plenty of Fish. They exchanged text messages between the 11th and the 19th of January and agreed to meet on the 19th of January at Ballarat train station. He lived close to Sharon and seemed friendly. He even sent messages with hearts and flowers so Sharon agreed to meet him for a date.
When they met at the train station, Sharon invited Jason back to her house for a coffee but when they got back to the house, Sharon felt uncomfortable and asked her friend to text her to say there was an emergency so that she could ask Jason to leave. Sharon later told her family and friends that Jason described himself as a grieving romantic on his dating profile and that he hadn’t been in a relationship since the death of his fiancée in a car crash seven years earlier. But Sharon told her family that Jason was not like his profile at all. He was filthy and was wearing dirty clothes when she met him. She told them that she was embarrassed to be seen with him and felt sorry for him. So much so that instead of their planned lunch at a nearby restaurant, she offered to have coffee with him instead at her home. But that all took place on the 19th of January and there had been no contact between them since then so police wanted to know why Jason was inside her house on the 6th of April, almost three months after their date.
Jason told police that he couldn't sleep the night of the 5th of April and had an anxiety attack and in the early hours of the 6th of April, he went for a walk. It was around 2am when he went for a walk and he recognized Sharon's house when he walked past it on Doveton Street. He told police:
"I started thinking about all the times I've been rejected in the past and it all just bubbled up."
He told police that he was angered that Sharon didn't want to see him again and seeing her house reminded him of that and the other times he had been rejected and in that moment he just flipped and he told police he was fuming.
Jason decided to walk home, about 2.7 kilometers away, in order to get a weapon so that he could attack Sharon. When he got back home, he found a cricket bat and took it with him and walked back to Sharon's house. He got back just before 5am that morning.
According to Jason, he forced his way inside. He removed the glass louver panels and gained access through Sharon's window. When he was inside the house, Sharon woke as she heard a noise and when she saw Jason she tried to protect herself but he began to hit her with the cricket bat until she was on the ground. He continued to hit her and swung the bat downwards from above his head using both his hands.
Sharon was screaming and Jason put his hand over her mouth and told her to shut up. Sharon managed to get to her feet. Jason forced her towards her bedroom. At that point, Aron had woken up due to the screams and Sharon asked if she could check on him. She did and then Jason forced her into her own bedroom.
Jason tried to rape Sharon. He held a pocket knife to her throat. He became enraged when he couldn't get an erection and beat her to death by striking her head repeatedly with the cricket bat.
Jason left the house and took Sharon's iPhone with him. He disposed of the bat, his shoes and the glass louver panels on his way home.
A post mortem was conducted and it was determined that the cause of Sharon's death was a result of multiple blunt head injuries. The report also noted that Sharon had an incised injury to the neck and multiple bruises over her left shoulder and right and left limbs. It was determined that the force required to cause the head injuries that Sharon had was extreme and the head injuries would have been rapidly fatal. Police asked Jason how many times he had hit Sharon with the cricket bat and he told them he was unable to say and said "I didn't stop."
Jason was charged with murder, attempted rape and aggravated burglary and he pleaded guilty to all three charges. The Court heard that Jason sent multiple hateful text messages and death threats to Sharon after she rejected him. She didn’t tell anyone about them. The Court heard that on the 6th of April when she was attacked inside her own home, Aron heard:
“Mummy screamed like an eagle when the bad man hit her.”
Jason's lawyer told the Court that:
"He became enraged that she rebuffed him. He wanted to injure her. He wanted to punish her."
He was sentenced to life in prison with a non parole period of 32 years. At his sentencing hearing, the Judge,Justice Elizabeth Hollingsworth, said:
"That you might have had some feelings of disappointment or rejection at the time would have been perfectly understandable. But your response was to become angry. So angry that, some two-and a-half months later, having had no further contact with the woman, you decided to go and get a weapon and break into her house in the middle of the night. Once inside the house, your anger and violence increased to the point where you totally lost control of yourself and beat her to death."
Judge Hollingworth said it was a sustained, ferocious and cowardly attack. And to add to the harrowing details, it emerged that it wasn't Jason's first conviction. Sharon's family discovered that when Jason brutally murdered Sharon, he was out on parole. He had more than 140 convictions, most of the offenses were crimes such as burglary and drug offenses. But his crimes began to escalate in 2002 when he was convicted of threatening serious injury and unlawful assault. Almost four years later he was jailed over the violent rape of a woman at a St Kilda hotel. On the 4th July 2006, he was convicted of two counts of rape, aggravated burglary, false imprisonment, intentionally causing injury, robbery, and obtaining financial advantage by deception. The conviction related to offenses that occurred on the 18th July 2005. Jason forced a woman into a room at the hotel at St Kilda. When he was inside the room with her, he raped her. After the rape, he tried to strangle her as he demanded money. He then let her go.
In relation to those charges, he was sentenced to 9 years with a non parole period of 6 and a half years and was released from prison on parole after serving just over 7 years. He was on parole for that conviction when he tried to rape and then murdered Sharon.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
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- Sandra Pupatello
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