Kylie Blackwood’s killer gets life but parole possible after 36 years
Ms Prohaska, who was in her 70s when she was attacked, was stabbed in the throat at her home in Endeavour Hills on May 21 of that year. She was left in a downstairs room, where she stayed until she crawled to a medical panic alarm and got help.
She had gone to answer the doorbell when she saw a man with a knife who kicked in the door, knocked her over and held the blade to her throat.
At the time of the attacks on Ms Blackwood and Ms Prohaska, Murdoch was on parole for a 2006 attack on another woman in her home.
Murdoch met that woman on a telephone dating service and stabbed her to the neck and face and struck her with a paperweight after she refused to have sex with him.
Justice Jane Dixon said the attacks on Ms Blackwood and Ms Prohaska had “sent shockwaves through the community”.
“You selected the homes and then went into those homes prepared to inflict serious violence on the occupants,” she said.
“Crimes such as these propagate understandable fear and outrage in the community,” she said.
“Each victim was caught off guard by intrusion and had no chance of escaping your cowardly attack.”
During the plea hearing last year, prosecutors argued Murdoch should become only the second first-time killer in Victoria to never be released.
However, on Thursday, Justice Dixon said she had decided to fix a non-parole period due to Murdoch’s plea of guilty.
In August last year, Murdoch, 41, had been due to face trial on charges of murdering Ms Blackwood and attempting to murder Ms Prohaska but he pleaded guilty to murder and intentionally causing serious injury after his lawyers and prosecutors struck an eleventh-hour plea deal.
In December, he then claimed a knock to the head in prison left him confused and caused him to wrongly plead guilty to attacking Ms Prohaska, but failed in a bid to change his plea.
Simone is a crime reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Age, and before that for The Australian in Melbourne.