Aussie woman who set husband on fire freed

April 19, 2011
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justiceA woman who burned her husband to death after “snapping momentarily” has become the third battered wife in seven years to avoid jail for manslaughter.

The Supreme Court has suspended Rajini Narayan’s six-year sentence for killing her cheating husband, Satish, in December 2008.

She became the third battered wife in seven years to avoid jail for manslaughter.

Justice John Sulan said the killing was due to “momentary” anger and “muddled” thinking, and that Narayan was truly remorseful for her actions.

“Although it is often said … that a suspended sentence is not a sentence at all, its a real sentence and can be brought into effect if there is a failure to comply with specified conditions,” he said.

Rajini Narayan, 46, set fire to her husband, Satish Narayan, on Dec. 8, 2008, after discovering he’d had an affair. South Australian Supreme Court Justice John Sulan said the woman’s distress had been compounded by years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her husband. Sulan sentenced Narayan to six years in jail, then suspended it, saying she had already suffered enough. Prosecutors initially charged Narayan with murder. In October, a jury convicted her instead of manslaughter, after she argued that she never meant to kill her husband.  During the trial, Narayan said she’d planned to use gasoline and a candle to burn a mark onto Satish’s genitals in an attempt to purify him, after learning he’d had an affair. He swore at her and turned away, she said, and she responded by throwing the gasoline and candle onto his back.

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