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For 5 hours, witnesses walked past as a man violently assaulted his wife. Nobody did a thing.

“What have we become, if we do not try to help each other when terrible things like this are happening?”

Warning: This item deals with domestic violence and includes a violent recount of an attack. It may be triggering for some readers. 

“I love you,” she cried as he kicked her in the face.

“I love you,” she pleaded as he stomped on her stomach.

“I love you. Stop hitting me.” But he beat her with a stick, punched her stomach and jumped on his wife’s face four times.

29-year old Conway Stevenson.

She sat bleeding, naked in public as at least four people walked past.

But the assault and violence continued. For five hours while no body helped, no one spoke up, and not one called the police.

“I was angry with her because she went off with her cousin and drink with her. I want her to go home and sleep with me,” the husband said.

He had told his grandmother that he was going to “bash [his] wife”.

And so the assault continued.

But the assault and violence continued. For five hours.

After five long hours, he left her lying in her own blood.

The next morning when he went to find her she was dead. Still drunk, he sat weeping at her body until an hour later emergency services were called to help.

Her name is Terasita Bigfoot. She died in the Northern Territory’s Bagot Community on November 26, 2013.

She was 29 years old.

Her husband, Conway Stevenson, also aged 29, was sentenced yesterday over the attack. Stevenson, who has a history of domestic violence, was given 14 years – but will be eligible for parole in just eight.

Eight years in jail for a vicious five-hour attack.

In sentencing him yesterday, Justice Judith Kelly took the unusual step of allowing television cameras to relay the sentencing live to air. She said she wanted to highlight the insidious plague of domestic violence.

Justice Kelly also asked the family for permission to use the victim’s name, an unusual step as in Aboriginal culture as the name of the deceased is usually avoided because of cultural protocol.

“I intend using Terasita’s name, this is not intended to be disrespectful — she deserves to have a name and for someone to tell her story, “ Justice Kelly said.

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“On the night she died, many people at the Bagot Community and passing by on Bagot Rd saw and heard Conway Stevenson abusing and bashing Terasita Bigfoot, but no one helped her, no one tried to stop him and no one called the police,’’ she said.

Many people at the Bagot Community and passing by on Bagot Rd saw and heard Conway Stevenson abusing and bashing Terasita Bigfoot.

Terasita and her husband, Conway Stevenson, had been drinking with various people during the day.

Stevenson had drunk two two-litre casks of wine and shared another with friends in the evening before approaching his wife and asking her to go home with him reports the ABC.

She refused. So he smashed her over the head with a crate.

A few hours later he told his grandmother he was going to beat his wife.

During the subsequent assault, the ABC reports, Ms Bigfoot approached a community bus and told the driver and passengers she had been hurt. She then stripped naked and took off her clothes sitting in the middle of the street.

The attack happened in the Bagot Community.

But her husband came back to beat her again.

Stevenson told the judge he was angry because his wife would not do what he said.

The Justice directly addressed him, saying: “It doesn’t matter if your wife disagrees with you. It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t do what you want her to do. It’s not right to bash her and it is as wrong as it can be to bash her to death,” she said.

“You left her naked, dying in the dark, alone.”

The judge also addressed the witnesses who failed to intervene, saying: “What have we become if we do not try to help each other when terrible things like this are happening?”

She said at least four people witnessed Stevenson’s assault, but did nothing.

“The woman who saw you dragging Terasita and stomping on her stomach didn’t try to help Terasita, she didn’t try to stop you and she did not call the police,” she said.

Stevenson, who has four convictions for aggravated assault and one for breaching a domestic violence order against his wife, pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter.

With parole he will be back in his community in eight years.

For Domestic Violence help 24/7, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). 

For more:

Lisa Wilkinson calls for action on domestic violence on the Today show.

Her car was forced off the road. Then he allegedly beat her with a metal plate.

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