Australian Arthur Freeman (photo), who killed his four-year-old daughter in full view of his two sons aged two and six and rush-hour commuters, has been jailed for life.
Victorian Supreme Court judge Paul Coghlan said that even though his actions were “horrible”, Mr Freeman was not beyond redemption.
Mr Freeman pleaded not guilty, claiming he had been mentally impaired at the time of the incident. But a range of psychiatrists testifying for the prosecution said although he may have been mildly depressed at the time, Mr Freeman had control of his actions and still knew right from wrong.
Last month a jury found him guilty of murder.
The judge ordered that he would not be eligible for parole for 32 years.
In January 2009, in a fit of rage amid a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife, Mr Freeman, 37, threw his daughter Darcey from Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge on what would have been her first day of school.
The day before the murder he had been told his visiting rights to his children were being reduced.
Just minutes before killing his daughter he called his ex-wife, Peta Barnes to tell her to “say goodbye to your children”, adding : “you will never see your children again”.
While they were stuck in rush-hour traffic, dozens of motorists saw Darcey plunge to her death.
One eyewitness said Mr Freeman had then returned to his car as if he had just posted a letter.
Darcey’s elder brother, Ben, had begged his father to turn back, saying that “Darcey can’t swim”.
She sustained massive injuries in the fall and eventually drowned.
“What Darcey’s last thoughts might have been does not bear thinking about and her death must have been a painful and protracted one,” judge Coghlan said.
He added that Mr Freeman’s motivation was revenge : “It can only be concluded that you used your daughter in an attempt to hurt your former wife as profoundly as possible.”