Courtroom outburst as gatecrasher jailed for teen’s murder

Laa Chol was fatally stabbed after ordering gatecrashers to leave a party in Melbourne's CBD.

Laa Chol was fatally stabbed after ordering gatecrashers to leave a party in Melbourne's CBD. Photo: Instagram

Grief and fury led to violent scenes in a Melbourne courtroom after the teenage killer of Laa Chol was jailed for at least 15 years for her murder.

A fracas broke out minutes after the 18-year-old murderer was jailed on Friday, with screams, yelling and thuds heard from the Supreme Court room.

One woman was walked out with her hands behind her back and another collapsed in a nearby hallway.

The families of Ms Chol and her killer were in the courtroom at the time of the incident.

Outside court, Ms Chol’s father railed against the sentence and the thought of spending another Christmas without her.

Daniel Kunyrieth Chol said his 19-year-old daughter was a good girl and while others would be celebrating Christmas, his family would be grieving.

“She was in university doing law, she a good [soccer] player…she a good girl, why is she killed?” he asked outside the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday.

Wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with his daughter’s face, he questioned the justice system that might allow her killer to walk free after 15 years.

“The law should look after people … the law is weak,” Mr Chol said.

He added his daughter, a legal studies student, wanted to give back to the community.

“My daughter … can help this country if she had been alive,” he said.

While the devastated father does not believe the law is stringent enough, he said a tougher sentence would not help.

“Doesn’t matter, my daughter never come back,” he said.

The terrible tragedy of Ms Chol’s death diminished the lives of those closest to her, Justice Stephen Kaye said in sentencing the man to a maximum 20 years with a non-parole period of 15.

“The pain and anguish, that they have suffered, are a direct consequence of the murder by you of Laa Chol,” he told her killer.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was 17 when he gatecrashed an impromptu party in the EQ apartment tower in Melbourne’s CBD in July last year.

During the party, Ms Chol discovered her phone was missing and kicked the gatecrashers out of the apartment she had rented via Airbnb for a weekend with friends.

A scuffle broke out in the hallway and Ms Chol was restrained and defenceless before she was stabbed in the heart.

“Your actions were utterly cowardly and callous,” Justice Kaye told the offender.

After stabbing her, the killer kicked Ms Chol in the stomach.

The teen went to trial arguing he did not intend really serious harm but a jury did not believe his claims. He was convicted of murder in September.

“Your senseless and vicious crime has deprived her of the most basic right, the right to life,” Justice Kaye told the teenager.

Ms Chol was a devoted, selfless and generous daughter, sister and friend, the judge said.

He took into account the killer’s difficult upbringing and that he was subject to racist taunts but also noted he had a history of violence.

The youth also expressed some remorse about his crime and had started to spend his time in custody, he said.

But Justice Kaye said he had to balance the killer’s youth with the severity of the crime and consider the protection of the community.


Topics: Murder
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