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Janet can now rest in peace

Family rejoices after killer’s appeal is denied.

TYLA HARRINGTON September 5, 2014 3:00am

Therese Rourke, Robert and Mary Marshall and Janet’s brother John Neander with his partner Faye Hope.


Murdered Deniliquin woman Janet Fisicaro’s family says their sister can now ‘‘rest in peace with the dignity she deserves’’ after her convicted killer lost his appeal on Tuesday.

Family members rejoiced at the news her killer, Des Campbell, would not be eligible for parole until 2034.

The former Deniliquin man was found guilty in 2010 of pushing his 49 year-old wife Janet off a 50m-cliff in the Royal National Park near Sydney on a camping trip in 2005.

Janet’s sister Mary Marshall said it was ‘‘such a relief’’ to hear Campbell’s appeal had been denied.

‘‘We took the news (of the verdict) as being a double guilty verdict ... he’s now been found guilty twice,’’ Mrs Marshall said.

‘‘It can all be put to rest. We could never think it was over with the appeal hanging over our heads ... now it is.’’

Wednesday was the fourth anniversary since Campbell — a former policeman, soldier and paramedic — was sentenced to a minimum term of 24 years and a maximum of 33 years behind bars.

But a day earlier, on Tuesday, a three-judge bench of the Court of Criminal Appeal unanimously agreed Campbell’s appeal should be dismissed.

The court declared the prosecution case to be ‘‘extremely powerful’’ and no alteration was made to his original sentence.

Another of Janet’s sisters, Therese Rourke, received a phone call from Detective Sergeant Shannon Spargo, the officer in charge of the initial murder investigation, on Tuesday saying, ‘‘The appeal court said ‘no’!’’

‘‘We just kept repeating it all day ... ‘they said no’!’’ said Mrs Marshall, who described the past 10 years as horrendous.

‘‘You never think something like this could happen to your family,’’ she said.

‘‘I would never wish this upon anyone.’’

Understandably, Mrs Marshall became emotional when remembering her beloved sister.

‘‘She was absolutely beautiful,’’ she said of the woman affectionately known as Jenny.

‘‘She was the most gentle-natured person who would do absolutely anything for anyone.

‘‘If you walked down the main street and told people about the news, people would be cheering.’’

Mrs Rourke agreed. She said they would also like to thank the community ‘‘for the support they have given us’’.

‘‘We would also like to thank the taskforce who conducted the investigation, and particularly Shannon Spargo who worked extremely hard.

‘‘We’ve never been able to celebrate or believe that it was over. Now we can.’’

Det Sgt Spargo also welcomed the news when contacted by the Pastoral Times.

‘‘We are definitely happy with the result,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s great for the family. After nine years they can now try to move on.’’

Campbell had married Janet in secret in 2004 after the pair met when he was a paramedic in Deniliquin.

Campbell has always maintained his innocence, saying Janet left the tent in the middle of the night and that he did not realise she had not returned until morning.

The key crown witness, retired physics professor Rod Cross, had explained to the NSW Supreme Court that Janet’s footprint at the edge of the cliff demonstrated she was in a standing position when she went over the edge and that she must have been pushed from behind.

After Janet’s death, Campbell married a woman he met on a Filipino dating website in January 2006. This was his fourth wife.

In sentencing Campbell, Justice Megan Latham referred to his ‘‘sustained callousness’’ towards Janet who was killed ‘‘for nothing more than monetary gain’’.

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