THE Family Court has given a Victorian mother permission to go into hiding with her young son after she found out from a taxi company that her husband had shot dead his first partner.

The court heard that the woman had opened a letter from the Victorian Taxi Directorate that said her husband's application for a taxi driver licence had been rejected on the grounds that he had spent 11 years in prison for murder.

When the woman -- who was then pregnant -- raised the matter with her husband, he agreed he had killed his first girlfriend when she had tried to leave him.

Judge Linda Dessau granted the woman sole custody of her son. The father had wanted a shared parenting arrangement.

"The father, at the age of 21, pleaded guilty to the charge of murdering his former partner and served a total of 11 years in prison before being released on parole in 1999," the judgment said.

On meeting the mother, he did not disclose his conviction to her.

"She did not become aware of his conviction until she received a letter from the Victorian Taxi Directorate refusing to grant him a licence, and informing (her) of his background."

The court said the mother had been "greatly distressed" and fearful of losing the baby.

Her husband's "violent, possessive, aggressive and moody behaviour . . . took on a new complexion."

Shortly after the child was born, an article describing the murder in detail appeared in a Melbourne newspaper. The mother "started to fear that she and the child were in danger".

She fled to her father's house but her husband "rang her repeatedly, demanding she return home . . . at one stage he said: 'You know what I'm capable of.' "

The father last month gave up his campaign to see his son but wanted the boy, who is now almost three, to keep his surname, and send him an annual photograph and school reports.

Judge Dessau said: "The mother's wellbeing is so genuinely threatened . . . I will not order that school reports be handed over." She said one photograph every two years would be enough.

The court agreed to let the mother change the name so that the boy "will be raised without being able to be identified by the father".

 


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