A German backpacker has been jailed for five years after choking a sex worker to death with her dress while they were having sex.
Jingai Zhang, 49, died on Boxing Day 2020 during a sex session with 27-year-old Tobias Pick in Launceston, Tasmania.
After she died, Pick – who is now 29 – stole $1,604 cash from Ms. Zhang as well as her phone, which he threw in a river.
He was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Pick had been traveling around Australia with his girlfriend for just over a year before Ms. Zhang’s death, Launceston Supreme Court heard.
He paid her for sex one time before she died, the Mercury reported from the court, but that time he declined her request to erotically asphyxiate her.
Pick went to see Ms. Zhang again on Boxing Day after a fight with his girlfriend, and this time he did consensually choke her, the court heard.
At first he used his hand to choke her, but then they changed position so Pick was behind Ms. Zhang, the court was told.
She then passed him her dress to hold around her throat.
“He didn’t realize she was struggling to breathe,” Pick’s defense lawyer Olivia Jenkins said, adding that her client “deeply regrets” fleeing the scene with his victim’s possessions.
Prosecutor said Elizabeth Avery told the court that Ms Zhang had asked to be lightly strangled for “heightened sexual pleasure” but not as forcefully as Pick went on to do.
Ms. Zhang’s boyfriend later found her body.
Sentencing Pick on Tuesday, Justice Robert Pearce said the backpacker’s “conduct after her death added to the seriousness of the crime”.
“Consent does not justify or excuse acts that cause death,” the judge told the court, according to the ABC.
The court had earlier heard from a forensic doctor, who said significant force would have been applied to Ms Zhang’s neck for at least a minute, causing bruising and bleeding.
Ms. Zhang’s husband David Simmons said in a victim impact statement read to the court that he did not know his wife was a sex worker or that she had another boyfriend.
Mr. Simmons said she was “kind, caring, always worrying about others”.
Pick cried in court as details of his offending were read out.
Ms. Jenkins said Pick had shown “great remorse” and had no previous criminal record.
His five-year sentence was backdated to December 28, 2020.
He will be eligible for parole in June 2023.