A ping on a cell tower was enough for police to bring closure to the family of a missing mum and put her killer behind bars.
Shannon Lee Jeffrey, 34, returned before the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday for sentencing over the death of Kobie Parfitt, 42, also known as Kobie Snowball in April 2020.
Jeffrey, the court was told, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter soon after the prosecution dropped a murder charge earlier this year.
Ms Parfitt’s former friend and housemate, Jeffrey had been released from prison less than two weeks before the death, developing an “increasing animosity” towards the mother and grandmother while incarcerated.
The court was told Jeffrey had been communicating with friends and family while in prison, telling them she believed Ms Parfitt had stolen or sold her belongings and was “somehow” responsible for her arrest.
“She’s a guilty dog,” Jeffrey told a friend a week before her release.
“She f–king lagged on me to the jacks (police).”
Ms Parfitt was bashed and killed by Jeffrey on April 28 in her own home, with Jeffrey initially hanging her in a closet to make it appear that she took her own life.
“Shannon Jeffrey later admitted Ms Parfitt died on her knees begging to be taken to her father’s house or to the police,” Justice Michael Croucher said.
“Mercilessly, her pleas were ignored.”
Shortly afterwards, Jeffrey moved into Ms Parfitt’s rental property, organising the transfer with the real estate agent and claiming that Ms Parfitt had “f–ked off and gone to Queensland”.
Due to false rumours spread by Jeffrey it would be more than three months before Ms Parfitt’s concerned family reported her missing in the Ballarat area.
Another four months later, police found her remains almost 5m deep in an abandoned mine shaft 30km away from Ms Parfitt’s home in December the same year.
Due to the state of decomposition, forensic pathologists were unable to identify how she died.
To locate the mine shaft, police used phone records from Jeffrey’s accomplice, Brendan James Prestage, to find the Snake Valley location.
Previously, Jeffrey’s barrister, John Desmond, told the court that the mother of two spent a great deal of time thinking about her actions.
“She struggles to understand why she acted the way she did,” he said.
“It makes her feel awful … she now says she should have been honest with what occurred earlier.”
Prestage, who pleaded guilty to assisting an offender in relation to manslaughter, was sentenced in July to two years and three months’ imprisonment.
Two others initially charged over Ms Parfitt’s death later had charges dropped and became prosecution witnesses.
Justice Croucher sentenced Jeffrey to 10 years imprisonment, saying Ms Parfitt’s slaying and Jeffrey’s actions afterwards displayed “cruelty and callousness”.
Gasps and sobs could be heard from members of Ms Parfitt’s family, while Jeffrey showed little emotion in the dock.
As she was led from the courtroom, Jeffrey’s supporters stood and waved, calling out “I love you Shannon”.
In a statement, members of Ms Parfitt’s family said they had spent years hoping for justice but were left feeling “powerless and voiceless”.
“Three of these four people are back out in the community,” they said.
“As a family living in a regional town, we now have to see them in the places we shop, where we socialise, even the ground of the schools our children attend.
“Today the last person has been sentenced for this crime and many will ask us if we are satisfied with this outcome.
“No sentence will bring Kobie home to us. We will never hold her or hear her voice. Today Shannon Jeffrey has gotten off lightly and our grief remains a life sentence.”
Originally published as Shannon Jeffrey: Killer dumped Kobie Parfitt down disused mine shaft near Ballarat