Coraki man jailed for murder
DONALD PAUL YUKE will serve at least 14 years of a 24-year jail sentence for the stabbing murder of his girlfriend, Lorraine Cheryl Bolt.
In sentencing Yuke yesterday in the Lismore Supreme Court, Justice Graham Barr took into account the effects of Yuke's extensive drug and alcohol abuse and limited intelligence.
Yuke, 33, of Coraki, was found guilty by a jury earlier this week of murdering Ms Bolt, 48, in her Alstonville home some time after midnight on March 29, 2008.
Justice Barr also took into account that Yuke has been in jail awaiting trial for over two years and backdated the sentence.
With a 14-year non-parole period, Yuke will be eligible for release on March 28, 2022, but will remain on supervised parole for another 10 years – until 2032.
With his father and two women from his family watching from the public gallery, Yuke left the courtroom after his sentencing making a cheery ‘see you later, bye' comment to them.
Three women from the Bolt family also sat at the rear of the public gallery to see the close of the case.
Justice Barr said there was a strong case to set a shorter jail term because the case was below the mid-range level of seriousness when all its circumstances were taken into account, including Yuke's serious ‘intellectual deficit' and hopelessness in the face of alcohol.
Referring to psychiatric and medical evidence before the court, Justice Barr said Yuke functioned at the intellectual level of a child, had no skills and had never worked.
Justice Barr said Yuke had been a substance abuser since the age of 12. In his younger years this abuse included magic mushrooms, ecstasy, lighter fluid, cannabis and heroin. In the more recent years his abuse of alcohol never abated.
He said this history of substance abuse and inebriation also impacted adversely on his social skills and led him into dependency and criminal behaviour.
Justice Barr said Public Defender Chris Bruce was correct in saying enormous resources would be needed to restore Yuke to a normal level of functioning and it would take many years. This process was unlikely to begin until he was returned to the community under ongoing supervision, he said.
Justice Barr said one positive factor was Yuke's developing ability as an artist, with his work said to be of a high order.