Lindt gunman’s girlfriend appeals murder sentence
The girlfriend of Lindt Siege gunman Man Monis has lodged a publicly-funded appeal against her 44-year jail sentence for stabbing his ex-wife 18 times and then setting her on fire.
Amirah Droudis, who went from a miniskirt-wearing King's Cross hairdresser to a niqab-wearing self-declared terrorist, was controversially on bail along with Monis when he took hostages at the Martin Place cafe in December 2014.
Hostages cafe manager Tori Johnson and mother and lawyer Katrina Dawson would still be alive if Monis had not been freed on bail at the time over his wife's murder and a string of sex offences.
Droudis, 40, was convicted in 2016 after a judge-alone trial of the murder of Monis' wife, who has been given the pseudonym Helen Lee to protect the identity of her family members.
Droudis was jailed for 44 years with a non-parole period of 33 years due to expire in December 2047.
She did not give evidence at her trial nor at her sentencing.
Likewise, she did not provide evidence at the long-running inquest into the siege or help police trace Monis' final movements before he went into the Lindt Cafe.
She was living with Monis at the time of the siege.
There is no suggestion she had any involvement in it.
Droudis' appeal, which will argue the sentence was manifestly excessive, is being funded by Legal Aid NSW and is due to be heard by the Court of Criminal Appeal next month.
In finding her guilty in 2016, Justice Peter Johnson said he was satisfied that Monis planned the murder and Droudis carried it out.
He described Monis as an evil man and said Droudis uncritically adopted and espoused his "vile beliefs".
Droudis met Monis in 2003 after her mother made an appointment with him as a spiritual healer.
She converted to Islam and changed her name from Anastasia to Amirah, appearing in 11 videos, some of which were posted online, in which she praised Osama bin Laden and expressed happiness about the September 11 terror attacks, the Bali bombings and the Holocaust.
The court heard that the murder of Ms Lee, 30, was carefully planned.
On April 21, 2013, she was attacked by a hijab-wearing Droudis in the stairwell outside his Werrington flat.
The court heard that, eleven days before the murder, Monis and Droudis had taken out a home contents insurance policy for the unit.
He later tried to make his ex-wife's death look like she had interrupted a burglary.
He set up an alibi for himself by staging a car crash outside a police station at the time she was visiting the flat.
The couple then cruelly claimed Ms Lee's father had killed her.
"This was a brutal and callous attack upon a defenceless woman. (Droudis) continued to stab Helen Lee after she was on the ground, making an attempt to defend herself by raising her hand," Justice Johnson said.
The judge decided against a life sentence, saying that Monis exercised a "significant measure of influence over" Droudis" and her lawyers argued that "a salutary, but not crushing, determinate sentence should be imposed".
In 2015, Droudis withdrew an appeal against her conviction for helping Monis send offensive letters to the families of Afghanistan veterans after Legal Aid withdrew funding.
A spokesman for Legal Aid NSW yesterday said they were legally bound not to comment on "clients or potential clients".
Originally published as Lindt gunman's girlfriend appeals murder sentence