James Fairhall gets 25 years in prison for murdering partner Noeline Dalzell in front of children in Victoria

Warning: This story contains the name and pictures of a deceased native person.

The family of a beloved mother who was murdered by her partner said “no time” would bring her back.

James Fairhall, 47, was convicted in the Victorian Supreme Court for the murder of Noeline Dalzell at her Seaford home in southeastern Melbourne on February 4, 2020.

Dalzell’s brother Mal, speaking out of court today, said he felt a “sense of relief” when the verdict was handed down.

James Leonard Fairhall gets 25 years in prison for murdering partner in front of children (Nine)

Dalzell’s teenage children screamed and tried to protect her from their father before he reached between them and fatally stabbed her in the neck.

Each day, the three children relive the trauma of seeing James Leonard Fairhall murder their 49-year-old mother.

“A huge hole has been left in their lives by the loss of their mother, three young lives have been forever changed by your despicable violence,” said Victorian Supreme Court Justice Jane Dixon.

The 47-year-old man was jealous and furious when he chased Dalzell through her home in Seaford, south-east Melbourne, in February 2020.

She had become romantically interested in an old high school friend after ending her on-again, off-again 20-year relationship with Fairhall, who had been violent towards her in the past.

Fairhall moved back into the family home a few months earlier when he had nowhere else to live.

Two days before the murder, Fairhall had told friends he wanted to kill the man Dalzell was talking to.

Hours before the stabbing, he called her newfound love interest and apologized to him.

When his children came home from school on February 4, they found their parents arguing. Fairhall yelled at Dalzell, accusing her of cheating on him.

Noeline Dalzell’s teenage children screamed and tried to protect her from their father before he reached between them and fatally stabbed her in the neck. (Delivered)

When he put down a pair of scissors he had held in his hands, their youngest child, then 13, hid them.

Fairhall then armed himself with a large kitchen knife.

The eldest daughter of 16 and son of 15 pushed their mother into the son’s bedroom to protect her, but Fairhall followed them.

The two children sat down between their parents, while the younger daughter watched.

All three yelled at him to stop before Fairhall reached out and stabbed their mother in the neck.

Fairhall’s son grabbed him to the ground and dropped the knife, allowing Dalzell to flee to a neighbor’s house.

The crime scene in Seaford, Melbourne in February 2020. (Nine)

Fairhall continued to pursue her, armed with a second knife, but Dalzell collapsed in the street and died of her neck wounds.

Justice Dixon said Fairhall’s offense was a serious example of murder of an intimate partner.

“The tragic legacy of your crime is that your three children actually lost both parents as a result of your actions,” she said.

Fairhall tried to blame his children in letters he wrote to them from prison. They were never handed over, but were used by prosecutors to show his lack of remorse for the crime.

If he serves his time, he will be eligible for parole in 16 years.

“We don’t want a family to go through what we went through.”

Dalzell’s brother Mal and sister-in-law Jenny said they would remain committed to the prevention of domestic violence.

“She’s gone and time won’t bring her back. Hopefully this won’t happen to another family,” Mal said.

“We don’t want a family to go through what we went through. It happens too much, there are no excuses.”

Dalzell’s brother Mal and sister-in-law Jenny said “no time” would bring her back. (Nine)

Jenny said she had hoped the non-parole would have been longer, but said she was relieved that the trial had come to an end.

“It’s been two long years,” she said.

“Murder sentences are not life sentences when they should be.

“These children have not only lost their mother, but also their father. There is no worse crime.

“They have to live with that for the rest of their lives. Women have to feel safe and by letting us go through this trauma, we hope it can make a difference.”

The couple said the children were doing well and were happy to be adults by the time their father was released from prison.

“We can accept what it is and move on, the kids can get some closure. It’s been a long fight,” Mal said.

Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counseling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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