An Adelaide lesbian couple who killed their transsexual housemate have been sentenced to serve at least 10 and 18 years in jail.

Some of Joanne (John) Lillecrapp’s body was found dismembered and buried under a strawberry patch in her suburban Adelaide home’s backyard in November 2001. Other parts were found at a nearby dump.

Lillecrapp shared a house with Nicole Therese Courcier McGuinness, and her partner Donna Lee Casagrande. Both women were former prostitutes and heroin addicts, with histories of drug-related crimes.

Lillecrapp, a truck driver and Meals on Wheels volunteer, had been missing for more than a week when police found her body.

Courcier McGuinness, 35, pleaded guilty to the murder and her partner Casagrande, 33, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The Adelaide Advertiser reported the couple drugged Lillecrapp with an anti-epileptic drug and tried to force her to surrender her ATM card and the PIN of an account containing $600.

When Casagrande returned to the house after trying a false number Lillecrapp had given her, McGuinness stabbed the victim to death. Unable to lift Lillecrapp’s body, the women dismembered it, burying some parts in the backyard and taking some to the Wingfield dump.

Casagrande then fled to Sydney, where she turned herself in at the Redfern Police Station two days after Lillecrapp’s body was found.

Courcier McGuinness was sentenced to life imprisonment with an 18 year non-parole period. Casagrande, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter was sentenced to 12 years with a 10 year non-parole period. According to the Advertiser, both women regularly broke down in tears during the trial, becoming hysterical and forcing the court to adjourn on one occasion.

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