by Cam Lucadou-Wells
A man has throttled and bashed a Dandenong North woman after she advised his ex-girlfriend to report his family violence to police.
Anthony Talarico, 37, pleaded guilty at the Victorian County Court to the common law assault, making a threat to kill, unlicensed driving and false imprisonment.
On 31 March 2022, he let himself into the victim’s home and interogated her about interfering with his relationship.
He grabbed her by the throat with both hands – an “inherently dangerous” act, Judge Carolene Gwynn noted in sentencing on 21 June.
During the “nasty” assault, Talarico punched the victim in the eye and struck her jaw with a pair of pliers.
The disqualified driver then demanded the victim and her female friend into his car, locking them inside the car as he refueled in Wheelers Hill.
They were driven to hotels in Oakleigh, Nunawading and Forest Hill that night – with the false imprisonment deemed to have finished when the victim moved into the front seat while Talarico left the car.
At the Canterbury International Hotel, he told the pair to get into a hotel room.
He took GHB that morning in the room. While he was asleep, the victim convinced one of Talarico’s associates to give her back her phone and allow her to leave.
The pair hid behind a next-door dumpster, and were picked up in a car by a friend.
On their way back to Dandenong, the victim received a call that Talarico had returned to her home and demanded where she was.
Upon seeing police arrive, Talarico drove away. He drove past the victim parked nearby and threatened her: “You’re dead. If I go back to jail, my cousins are gonna come and kill you.”
Judge Gwynn called his actions an “outrageous and continued display of violence, control and aggression”.
They were apparently due to the victim advising Talarico’s ex-partner to protect herself from him, the judge noted.
The long-standing drug user was using amphetamines daily at the time, which caused him to be “more chaotic”.
The accused also pled to multiple counts of disqualified driving, including while speeding at 106km/h in a 60 km/h zone.
Judge Gwynn noted his “extremely poor” driving record and “extensive” criminal history, including theft, drug and weapon offences, breaching court orders and multiple counts of disqualified driving.
His multiple broken bones from car accidents reflected a “chaotic” lifestyle.
Talarico believed he’d been knocked unconscious several times and was unsure whether he acquired a brain injury.
His reported mental health issues such as paranoia, anxiety and hallucinations were clouded by drug abuse.
Talarico hadn’t been deterred by short jail terms in the past, nor had he complied with CCOs, Judge Gwynn noted.
It added up to “guarded” rehabilitation prospects despite him expressing a willingness to turn his life around.
He was jailed for 20 months, followed by a two-year community corrections order including 175 hours of unpaid work and drug, alcohol and mental health treatment.
His jail term includes 440 days of pre-sentence detention.