Serial killer Peter Dupas has been handed a third life sentence with no parole for the 1997 cemetery murder of Melbourne woman Mersina Halvagis.


A Victorian Supreme Court jury last week found Dupas guilty of repeatedly stabbing Ms Halvagis, 25, near her grandmother’s grave at Fawkner cemetery in 1997.

On Friday, Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth handed Dupas, 57, a life jail term with no parole.

Dupas is already serving two life jail terms without parole for murdering Nicole Patterson and Margaret Maher.

Justice Hollingworth said Dupas attacked Ms Halvagis “suddenly and savagely” with a knife.

“It must have been an absolutely terrifying ordeal for her.”

She said Dupas went to the cemetery that day probably seeking an easy target.

“Tragically, it seems Ms Halvagis was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Justice Hollingworth said Dupas had an appalling criminal history dating back to 1972.

She said Dupas had shown no remorse for his brutal crime against Ms Halvagis and there was no suggestion he had prospects of rehabilitation.

She said he seemed to be motivated by a “deeply entrenched perverted and sadistic” hatred of women.

Dupas showed no emotion during the sentencing.

Members of the Halvagis family hugged outside the court.

Dupas was first convicted in 2007 of stabbing Ms Halvagis more than 30 times near her grandmother’s grave, but the decision was overturned and a new trial ordered last year.

The retrial jury heard three witnesses placed Dupas at the cemetery at or near the time of the killing.

The jurors also accepted the testimony of star witness Andrew Fraser, who shared a unit with Dupas at Port Phillip Prison while jailed for drug crimes.

The former criminal lawyer said Dupas had performed a mime of his attack on Ms Halvagis and told him he did not leave any forensic evidence at Fawkner.

Dupas had also appeared shaken when a Greek inmate accused him of Ms Halvagis’ murder, saying “How does that c*** know I did it?”, and stroked a homemade knife found in the prison garden, saying “Mersina”.

The jury rejected the defence’s suggestion that Mr Fraser’s evidence was driven by the promise of an early jail release and a $1 million reward.

Dupas has previously been named as a suspect in the murders of three other women.