Melbourne woman jailed over fatal bashing of grandmother walking her dogs
Photo: Ms Le was found with head injuries in the driveway of this St Albans home. (ABC News: James Hancock)
A woman has been jailed for seven years for bashing to death a grandmother who was out walking her dogs in Melbourne's north-west.
In sentencing, Justice Kevin Bell said Amy Tran's attack on 76-year-old Le Ngoc Le early last year was a "senseless crime".
Tran, 32, was homeless and had been temporarily living near the home of Ms Le, who was walking her dogs on the evening of February 1.
The court previously heard locals had noticed Tran's odd behaviour on the evening of the attack as she wandered the streets without shoes and wearing a pink singlet.
About 7:00pm, Tran attacked Ms Le, striking her repeatedly in the head and causing traumatic head injuries.
Ms Le died in hospital four days later.
"You bashed her severely with your own hands causing her to fall on the concrete driveway," Justice Bell told Tran as he sentenced her.
He said her crime was probably a response to "the way other people were reacting" to Tran's behaviour.
He also acknowledged Tran's lengthy problems with mental health, saying she remained "very unwell".
"I've never seen a case where a woman has behaved the way you did that day," Justice Bell said.
He noted that the attack was unprovoked and in broad daylight in a suburban street.
"Ms Le's death has had a profound impact on her children," he said.
"She was defenceless in the face of your aggression … she loved her little dogs who she walked everyday," Justice Bell said.
Justice Bell set a non-parole period of four and a half years.
Tran was originally charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter in October.
Killer was previously denied mental health treatment
The court heard one witness told police Tran seemed "disturbed, erratic and bewildered".
Locals observed the woman mumbling to herself, spinning on the spot, and walking half on the road, half on the footpath.
One man had been so concerned that he called the local hospital to check if there had been an escape from the psychiatric unit.
The court heard Ms Le had also noticed Tran and had asked a neighbour: "Who is that lady?"
The neighbour told Ms Le to ignore Tran.
Soon after, Ms Le was attacked as a number of neighbours heard screams.
When she was found by other local residents, Ms Le was unable to speak but nodded when asked if she had been attacked by the "girl in pink".
Tran's lawyer, Glenn Casement, told the court his client had experienced a "relapse of schizophrenia" and had hallucinations before she was arrested.
In early 2018, she had sought treatment for her mental illness, but had been turned away from hospital.
"It's a shame and a tragedy," Mr Casement said.
He said the attack was not premeditated and Tran had shown remorse over time.
The court heard the mother of one had been a heavy drug user in the past and had an extensive history of mental health difficulties.
Grandchild born a fortnight after Ms Le's death
Ms Le was born in Vietnam and had been in Australia for 20 years.
Twice a day she walked her dogs, Lucky and Shelli, around the streets near her home.
She had been a road crossing supervisor for the local council for four years until a year or so before her death.
"We were proud of our mum for her kind heart," her daughter Thy Cat Trin said in a statement to the court.
"She was an ongoing source of love, support and care.
"We are a very small family and we rely on each other."
Ms Trin said her own children had been denied their "childhood right to grow up in the loving arms of a grandmother".
Ms Trin's youngest child was born two weeks after Ms Le's death.
"Mum was very excited and was looking forward to meeting her unborn grandchild," Ms Trin said.
"She was all packed and ready to travel to Sydney, but unfortunately that day never came."
Ms Le's son, Ken Nguyen, said in a statement that his mother had been proud to learn English and buy her own home and enjoyed a very independent life.