|Paul Hindle and Lisa Lebitka in happier times. (Supplied photo)
TORONTO — A lying lover will serve at least 14 years in prison for killing his common-law wife in a fatal rage sparked by the realization that the victim would uncover his web of lies.
Justice John McMahon said Paul Hindle of Toronto “developed a sophisticated plan” to conceal the Dec. 30, 2011, slaying of Lisa Lebitka, 45, the loving mother of three children: Paige, 12, Holly, 9, and Charly 7.
Hindle, 48, who had no prior criminal convictions, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder three weeks ago and was automatically sentenced to life imprisonment. McMahon decided Wednesday that Hindle must serve at least 14 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
McMahon said Hindle “ambushed” Lebitka when she asked him to go to the bank to cash a six-figure “fictitious, non-existent” government cheque, which would solve all of their financial problems.
“His elaborate fabrications were about to come crashing down,” said McMahon.
Describing the murder as an unprovoked killing, McMahon said that Lebitka “died neither easily – nor quickly.”
Hindle strangled her, choking her into unconsciousness in the front foyer of their Toronto home, court heard.
“As he dragged her body into the kitchen, however, Lebitka made a sound and Hindle thought, ‘Oh, maybe I haven’t killed her,’ ” said McMahon. Hindle admitted to police that he briefly considered saving her, said McMahon.
“I thought, ‘No, I have to finish this because if she comes back, I’m in big trouble,’ ” Hindle told detectives.
He suffocated her with a pillow then stuffed a pair of socks in her mouth, court heard.
Hindle concocted a scheme to conceal the murder, intercepting her phone calls and texts, and misleading police and family that Lebitka was missing. He also disposed of evidence and “manipulated loved ones” to confirm her disappearance, said McMahon.
Lebitka’s body was wrapped up “like a mummy” under her child’s bunkbed, where police found her on New Year’s Day.
“Violence, nightmares, worry will never leave my life. I will never get a chance to say to my mom ‘I love you’ and she will never say it back to me,” Paige said in her victim impact statement.
Afterwards, Paige, clutching her father’s hand, said simply, “I love my mom and I miss her every day.”