Seconds after being jailed for his wife’s brutal murder, Haydar Haydar stood up in the dock and loudly declared his love for his estranged daughters.
“I would like to let everyone know that when I did what I did I was not normal at all and I was totally insane,” he dramatically proclaimed.
The 61-year-old former taxi driver raised his arm and looked towards the public gallery of the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney after being jailed for at least 18 years on Friday.
“The stance of my daughters who I used to adore but I still love is as bad as my stance when I was insane.
“I love you all, I adore you my daughters, I love you so much, I am very, very sorry.”
A number of women, including his daughter Ola who witnessed the ferocious attack, wept during his speech, which Justice Peter Garling unsuccessfully tried to cut short a number of times.
“I reject that I am exaggerating if I say I cry every day, guilt is eating me,” Haydar said.
The judge in March found him guilty of murder rather than manslaughter after he stabbed Salwa Haydar more than 30 times at her Sydney home in early 2015.
He also found him guilty of wounding Ola Haydar, then 18, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after her hand was injured when she tried to push him off her mother.
In sentencing him to a maximum of 22 years on Friday the judge described the stabbing as “a frenzied, sustained and brutal attack”.
The couple’s relationship had deteriorated and Ms Haydar, who was 13 years younger than her husband, wanted a divorce.
He was due to move out of her townhouse, where he had been staying temporarily, when he attacked her, fuelled by anger and jealousy after wrongly believing she was having an affair.
The judge was satisfied Haydar was suffering from a depressive illness at the time, but it was not so severe as to reduce his culpability from murder to manslaughter.
“The attack was an offence of violence taking place in the home,” Justice Garling said.
“It was of great ferocity and persistence.”
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The couple had one son, with whom Haydar still maintains a relationship, and three daughters who have made it clear they want nothing more to do with him.
“Not a day goes by where I am not reminded and traumatised by the events of that evening,” Ola Haydar told her father’s sentence hearing.
“He has been the subject of my nightmares for two years; all I can hope for is that I never have to come face to face with him again”.
Her sister, Amani Haydar, told the judge: “The offender’s total lack of remorse has exposed us to the cold and callous side of life.”
Nour Haydar said she never got to say goodbye to her mother and the last time she saw her “she was wrapped in a white sheet, only her eyelids were visible, and she was lying on a metal refrigerator bed”.
National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.