Nurse Beets killer’s appeal stirs emotions

More than four years after former US marine Walter Marsh slit the throat of a much-loved Sydney nurse, her long-term partner, David Grant, has had to go through the emotions of the court case again.


Walter Marsh, 54, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012 for the murder of Mr Grant’s partner Michelle Beets, 57, whom he murdered on the doorstep of her Chatswood home in Sydney’s north.

Marsh lay in wait for the popular Sydney nurse on April 27, 2010, grabbed her and then slit her throat in a technique he learned when he was a marine. He then repeatedly stabbed her before leaving her for dead.

Marsh launched an appeal of his sentence and conviction earlier this year, saying his life-term was manifestly excessive as the crime did not fit into the “worst case” category.

But on Thursday, the Court of Criminal Appeal disagreed and dismissed the appeal.

Speaking outside court, Mr Grant said he was relieved.

“It has been a tough time,” he told reporters.

“Every time this comes up it is pretty hard to deal with and emotional.”

In the appeal judgment, Justice Ian Harrison said the level of criminality in the case was “extreme” and its features were “chilling”.

“There is evidence of the appellant’s motive that suggest a single-minded decision to take a lethal course of action either for revenge or self-interest or both,” he found.

Justice Harrison said the murder also displayed a high level of planning and violence and was “clearly a sustained and merciless attack upon an innocent and defenceless victim”.

“These matters combine to raise the awful spectre of future dangerousness to the community,” he said.

Marsh, a US citizen who wanted permanent residency in Australia, had worked as a nurse at Royal North Shore and believed Ms Beets was responsible for him not being able to find another job.

He also believed she was an obstacle to his getting residency.

Before the murder, Walsh stalked Ms Beets and practised the so-called sentry attack on his wife Samantha Marsh.

When he was sentenced to life in 2012, the family and friends of Ms Beets erupted in applause.

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