Australian-Vietnamese woman gets 19 years in jail for murder

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An Australian Vietnamese woman has been sentenced to 19 years in jail by an Australian court for strangling a friend and dumping her body in a car park.


Tu Cam Linh, 48, killed Tran Thi Xuan Dung after an argument over money, took her jewelry and made up a story that two women were responsible for the murder, according to an online report carried Wednesday by New Zealand's television and digital media company TVNZ.


Victorian Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Curtain said Linh had cut her hair, sold the jewelry and bought a return ticket to Vietnam without telling her son she was going.


She was arrested when returning to Australia about a week later and repeated to police the lie that two women had killed Dung, which Justice Curtain called "an elaborate and skilful web of lies accompanied by detailed descriptions of what each person did and said to Dung Tran in the course of the struggle," cited by the report.


Linh later admitted she killed Dung, but said her friend had started the assault and she had acted in self-defense.


On April 24 last year, the two women planned to go to Crown Casino, where they had met six months earlier, but had an argument during which Linh ended up strangling Dung.


She dumped the body in a car park, where it was found the next morning.


Linh said Dung owed her money, but the court said it was Linh who owed the 53-year-old mother of four.


The defense had described the case as "a very sad commission of the crime of murder by a woman who was otherwise a law-abiding citizen who had led an unremarkable life caring for her son."


Linh and her son came to Australia as refugees in 1995, after leaving Vietnam and spending about six years in a Malaysian refugee camp earlier.

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