Trio jailed for 'excruciating' murder

Wollongong lawyer Katie Foreman died an "excruciating" death in a blaze that was lit in her bedroom at the behest of her calculating boyfriend.

But exactly why Ms Foreman was killed remains puzzling, the sentencing judge says.

The 31-year-old solicitor died in a blaze that engulfed her home in Corrimal in Wollongong's north on October 27, 2011.

She had tried to flee but was overcome by smoke and heat.

In sentencing the trio for her murder on Monday, Justice Ian Harrison said "it is difficult to contemplate a more frightening and excruciating way" to die.

"She died alone with no possible chance of escape."

Ms Foreman's one-time friend Wendy Anne Evans pleaded guilty in June 2013 to her role in the murder.

The solicitor's sometime boyfriend Bradley Max Rawlinson and a third accused, Michelle Sharon Proud, were found guilty in April.

During this trial, the Supreme Court heard Evans' friendship with Ms Foreman turned sour after the 31-year-old solicitor had been intimate with her former lover and convicted criminal Scott Field.

But it took the "cold and calculating" Rawlinson to push Evans' dislike to the next level, Justice Harrison said.

From August 2011 Rawlinson sparked an affair with the insecure Evans and began feeding her lies and saying they could never be together while Ms Foreman was alive.

Evans in turn recruited Proud to assist in the murder scheme.

While text messages and evidence reveal how the solicitor was killed, Justice Harrison said he remained at "a complete loss to understand" why.

Whatever "so-called issues" Rawlinson had with Ms Foreman, they were "hardly the stuff of revenge or retribution," he said.

"Scurrilous gossip and meaningless banter can never justify the taking of any person's life," Justice Harrison said.

None of the allegations levelled by Evans at Ms Foreman was ever substantiated, the court heard.

And Rawlinson's drive to kill Ms Foreman appeared to be based on "cold indifference to her right to live her own way, on her own terms".

He gave Rawlinson, who has shown no remorse, the heaviest sentence, setting a minimum of 27 years and a maximum of 36 years.

Despite the fact Evans went to Ms Foreman's home to light the fire, Justice Harrison said she was less morally culpable, owing to Rawlinson's manipulation, and he sentenced her to a minimum of 18 years and a maximum of 24.

Meanwhile Proud, who Justice Harrison found played a "passive role" in the murder, was sentenced to at least 14 years.

Ms Foreman's family was in court as the sentences were handed down.

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