Simon Gittany jailed until 2031

The Gittany family outside court. Picture: Evan Zlatkis.

The Gittany family outside court. Picture: Evan Zlatkis.

CONVICTED balcony killer Simon Gittany will spend at least 18 years behind bars.

Sentencing the 40-year-old to a maximum 26 years in the NSW Supreme Court today, Justice Lucy McCallum said Gittany showed no prospect of rehabilitating from the 2011 murder of his fiancee Lisa Harnum, who the judge said must have felt “complete terror” in the last moments of her life.

Gittany had pleaded not guilty to throwing Ms Harnum, 30, from the 15th storey balcony of their CBD apartment.

During the highly-publicised trial, the court heard Gittany was a jealous and possessive partner who had installed pinhole cameras in the apartment to monitor his fiancee. Ms Harnum was being subjected to “a degree of scrutiny and direction from him that was overbearing”, Justice McCallum said.

On the morning of July 30 2011, Ms Harnum was trying to leave her “controlling, dominating and abusive” partner, who, in a fit of rage, “carried her over to the balcony and dropped her over”. She plunged 15 storeys to her death.

“There is no doubt in my mind that [Gittany] … lost control of his temper,” Justice McCallum told the court.

Gittany always maintained his innocence, claiming Ms Harnum, who suffered from an eating disorder, climbed over the balustrade and slipped. The judge rejected this, saying she did not think Ms Harnum was deranged enough to commit suicide. She added that no traces of her fingerprints were found on the balcony. “Ms Harnum could not have done what the accused says she did without touching the glass panel of the balcony,” she said.

Gittany’s current girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, who supported him throughout the trial, was not in court for the sentencing, after signing a six-figure deal with the Seven Network for an exclusive interview.

One of Gittany’s relatives shouted, “In the name of Jesus Christ, he won’t be doing any of that time” as the sentence was handed down.

“Off the balcony you go,” a member of the public gallery shouted as Gittany was taken away from the dock.

Outside court, Gittany’s sisters lashed out at reporters, calling the media “vultures”.

Gittany’s solicitor, Abigail Bannister, said there would be an appeal.

With time already served in custody, Gittany will be eligible for release in May 2031.