A woman has rekindled her romance while behind bars with an ex-lover, who is soon to be sentenced for unintentionally killing the man she urged him to bash.
Natalie Dalton, 38, made unproven claims Hastings father-of-two Jade Goodwin, 39, had raped a woman and that his flatmate felt like a hostage in her own home.
Although she had no role in Mr Goodwin's death, she encouraged her ex-boyfriend, Brendan McDowall, 53, and their friend, Shane Heiberg, 36, to assault him as payback and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years jail.
While on remand awaiting their punishments, McDowall and Dalton had "rekindled" their romance, McDowall's barrister Chris Carr told a Supreme Court pre-sentence hearing on Thursday.
"They have committed to each other that they will build a sober, positive life when he is released and able to join her on the outside," he said, noting Dalton will be eligible for parole in a month.
"They have one weekly visit, speak every Saturday and have a video conference monthly in which they are able to see each other."
Mr Goodwin died after McDowall strangled him with a dog lead following a "protracted struggle" in the victim's bed.
After realising he was dead, McDowall and Heiberg panicked and wrapped the body in a doona.
Dalton later helped McDowall dump the body at Tyabb on the Monrington Peninsula, covering it with concrete and soil. The property owner alerted police on the same day that he'd found a "suspicious hole".
McDowall and Heiberg later admitted they killed Mr Goodwin, adding they didn't intend to.
"I'm happy to admit I was going to give him a flogging," McDowall told investigators.
Heiberg pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year, while McDowall was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter in May.
Lawyers for the duo told Justice Christopher Beale they had shown good prospects of rehabilitation in prison and were remorseful.
Mr Carr said McDowall had been "bedevilled" by difficulties throughout his life including drug addiction and anger management, though he was working hard to become a better person.
Heiberg's lawyer David Gibson described his client as having a misguided loyalty to his friendship group, with a "perceived need to protect, rescue and punish".
"He appeared to give limited thought to the situation or consequences," he said, noting his client was affected by the drug ice at the time.
Midway through the assault, the men stopped to get Mr Goodwin a glass of water, Mr Gibson noted.
Mr Goodwin's sister Fiona also spoke, detailing the "searing pain" of losing her brother.
"I always believed one day he would overcome drug addiction and live the life he always wanted," she told the court.
"I know he was no angel but he was my brother and he didn't deserve to die the way he did."
McDowall and Heiberg are due to be sentenced by Justice Beale on September 9.
Australian Associated Press