Klaus Neubert’s move to deny shooting victim compensation thwarted by Family Court ruling
In a landmark case, the Family Court has blocked an attempt by a convicted murderer to deny compensation to a victim injured in the brutal murder of his estranged wife.
Klaus Neubert, 75, shot and killed his wife Olga in New Town, Tasmania, and injured her friend, Josephine Cooper, in the attack.
Nuebert was ordered to pay $2.3 million to Ms Cooper after she lost two fingers in the 2015 shooting on a busy suburban street.
Neubert’s wife Olga had been trying to divorce him at the time of the murder.
During divorce proceedings before the Family Court, Neubert initially claimed 80 per cent of the couple’s assets.
After the murder he applied to split the assets equally in an apparent attempt to minimise the pool of money available to pay Ms Cooper’s compensation.
Ms Cooper then applied to intervene in the Family Court case.
The court finally ordered that the murderer’s assets be sold and that 35 per cent be given to his late wife’s estate.
The remaining 65 per cent was ordered to be retained by Neubert and paid directly to Ms Cooper.
Justice Benjamin of the Family Court was damning in his judgment about the demeanour of Neubert in giving evidence.
“I am satisfied that the husband fabricates evidence to suit his perceived needs,” he said.
“His evidence is unreliable and self-serving.”
In an unusual move, Justice Benjamin allowed publication of the decision because it involved what he called “abominable family violence”.
Decision hailed as legal landmark
Ms Cooper’s counsel, Alex Kendall, hailed the decision as a landmark for court decisions and for family violence.
“It is a case that deals with some of the most appalling family violence being perpetrated in Tasmania,” he said.
“It sends a strong message from the court that family violence will not be tolerated under any circumstances,” Mr Kendall said.
“This is probably the most appalling case of violence that I can think of in recent memory.”
Mr Kendall said Ms Cooper was very happy with the result of the matters.
“She is a very pleased with the outcome of both the civil trial and the family court trial.”
“She’s looking forward to moving forward with her life and for all of this terrible saga to be at an end so she can move forward.”
Mr Kendall said the case also set a key legal precedent.
“The family court does have the power, and will exercise power, to maintain legal rights that have emanated from state courts.”