Husband jailed for ‘terrifying’ murder of wife in Sydney

Anne Rogers fought back as her jealous husband of more than 40 years smothered her with a pillow in what a Sydney judge has described as a “terrifying way to die”.

Warren Francis Rogers, 71, has been sentenced to at least 12 years behind bars after a jury in May found him guilty of murder.

Ms Rogers was killed on September 12, 2016, after a fight broke out when her husband discovered she was still in contact with an old boyfriend she’d reconnected with through Facebook.

She’d been seeing him romantically.

The “bigger and stronger” Rogers held his wife down in a bedroom in their Milperra home, placing a pillow over her mouth.

As she sentenced Rogers in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Julia Lonergan noted the signs of the fight left on his wife’s body as she struggled.

Ms Rogers had an injury on the top of her head from either a blunt object or the bed head and bruises on her body consistent with her husband holding her down.

Scratches on her face showed she’d desperately tried to remove the pillow.

“The evidence supports a conclusion that smothering by pillow while resisting, would have been a sustained and terrifying way to die,” the judge said.

After killing his wife, Rogers tried to take his own life, leaving his children a note saying “I’m sorry kids but she has f***ed me around for the last time … I’m sorry it is to end this way”.

He was found the next day by police conducting a welfare check after Ms Rogers’ family raised concerns when she didn’t turn up to her father’s house as expected.

Justice Lonergan said Ms Rogers’ killing wreaked “emotional carnage” on her family.

The victim’s father died a “broken man” in 2018.

Her brother, Gregory, told the court their father would say to him: “Lucky your mother is not alive to see this.”

In a victim impact statement, sister Julie Bertoldo told of having to go to their father’s house for his 86th birthday to tell him his “beloved daughter” had been killed and would never visit him again.

Outside court, Ms Bertoldo said she missed her sister every day.

“She was beautiful. She was gorgeous. She was kind. She was generous. She was a wonderful person,” she told reporters.

“Nothing is going to bring my sister back … justice has been done.”

Rogers pleaded not guilty to his wife’s murder on the basis of substantial impairment arguing he was suffering from an abnormality of the mind.

Evidence from two psychiatrists who examined Rogers led Justice Lonergan to agree he was suffering from an undiagnosed major depressive disorder.

Despite his not guilty plea, the judge accepted the murderer was “genuinely remorseful”.

“The evidence demonstrates he was, before the events immediately leading up to this offence, a good and kind man, moral, caring and ethical, not violent, aggressive or abusive.

“It is without question that this offence was extremely out of character.”

Rogers was sentenced to a maximum of 18 years in prison with a non-parole period of 12 years.

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