Gold Coast millionaire businessman John Chardon, who killed his estranged wife Novy and then wove a “calculated web of lies”, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Chardon, 72, was found not guilty on Monday of the murder of his 34-year-old wife but guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The 34-year-old mother of two vanished from the couple’s Upper Coomera home on the northern Gold Coast in February 2013, and despite extensive searches her body has never been found.
Throughout the trial Chardon denied any involvement in her disappearance.
In sentencing him, Justice Ann Lyons said Novy suffered a “violent” yet “silent” death, before Chardon disposed of all evidence and then “calmly” went about his life.
“The ability to weave a calculated web of lies is a great concern … particularly to denigrate your wife at every turn,” she said.
“You killed her just as she had taken the first steps [towards] finalising proceedings for divorce.
“Novy was entitled to … plan a life without you.”
Justice Lyons told Chardon only he knew what transpired that night.
“We will never know what happened [to her]. You do. You’ve never confessed,” she told him.
“Novy did not abandon her children … but loved them fiercely.”
She said it was clear from the verdict that while jurors found Chardon killed his wife, they were not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he intended to cause her death or cause grievous bodily harm.
Chardon will have to serve 80 per cent of the sentence, meaning his parole eligibility is set at September 2031.
Novy Chardon’s lawyer had sent a letter stating she wanted half her husband’s assets. (Supplied: Queensland Police Service)
In the sentencing hearing today, one of Novy’s friends read aloud an emotional victim impact statement to the court, saying Novy would never be able to witness her children’s milestones because of “one selfish and sickening act”.
“You [John Chardon] took away a daughter, a mother, a sister and a best friend,” she told the court.
The court also heard a statement penned by Novy’s mother, who lives in Indonesia, detailing her grief.
“Novy appears in my dreams — even as the years pass, I am in deep sorrow,” she wrote.
The court heard that within six weeks of Novy’s death, Chardon had committed sexual offences against a child.
Chardon has called himself a philanthropist, but admitted to having sex with some women he sponsored. (ABC News: Sharon Gordon)
Crown prosecutor Mark Green said the 72-year-old’s criminal history also included the rape of a teenager in the late 1990s.
He said Chardon had refused to acknowledge his offending, or undertake rehabilitation while serving jail time for those crimes.
Mr Green said that despite the jury convicting Chardon of Novy’s manslaughter, the direct circumstances of her death remained largely unknown.
But he said it was clear from the evidence that Novy was fearful of her husband while the couple lived under the same roof at their house at Upper Coomera.
“There can be no doubt her relationship was mentally and emotionally abusive,” he said.
“She was rightfully concerned over how [he] would react to her taking the final step [of finalising divorce proceedings].”
More to come.