A convicted killer serving time for choking a woman to death in 2019, has pleaded guilty to the cold case murder of a Geelong West woman more than 30 years ago.
56-year-old Darren Chalmers has faced the Supreme Court charged over the brutal death of mother-of-two Annette Steward, whose body was found by a close friend two days after her death in 1992.
Chalmers faced the Victorian court after being extradited from Western Australian, where he is serving a life sentence for the 2019 killing.
The hearing was told Chalmers went to Ms Steward’s home on March 16, 1992, to fix her television aerial.
He returned later that night, telling her he had no-one else to celebrate his birthday with.
The pair had a few drinks before she told him he could crash on her couch.
Chalmers later entered the room where Ms Steward was sleeping and struck her three times in the head with an iron, then strangled her with an extension cord.
He later told police he was at his own home at the time of the murder.
Years later, in 2020, he confessed to the killing during a conversation with an undercover detective.
Reading from a victim impact statement Ms Steward’s daughter, Jacinta Martin, told the court her mother was a free and fun-loving woman.
“She would give the shirt off her back if that was all that she had,” Ms Martin said through tears.
She said Chalmers had taken away countless birthdays, celebrations and time Ms Steward would have had with her grandchildren.
“Telling you this will change nothing,” Ms Martin said to Chalmers.
“All this is, is an end to a chapter in our lives that’s been unanswered for so long.”
Prosecutors described the attack as “an aggressive, incredibly violent and sustained attack” in the home of a victim who was showing Chalmers kindness.
Chalmers’ defence counsel argued the murder lacked the aggravating features of extended family violence or forced entry, saying her client had shown remorse and asking for the court to consider a non-parole period.
However the judge pointed out that Chalmers was a double murderer who killed blameless, defenceless women when they were showing him noting but kindness.
Chalmers himself had written to the court asking for a sentence that would ensure he would never be released.
He will be sentenced at a later date.