By Crikey reporter Sophie Vorrath


Maria Korp, the Melbourne mother of two found unconscious in the boot of her car in February, has died. The 50-year-old died early this morning, ten days after Victorian
Public Advocate Julian Gardner authorised doctors to remove her feeding tube. Korp had never regained consciousness after being
strangled and left for dead by her husband’s ex-lover Tania Herman. But the decision still
sparked heated debate, with Crikey contributor Peter Faris
QC among the most vocal of critics, dubbing Gardner a “public executioner” and questioning his power of life
and death.
“Her convicted attacker will be supported in jail by the taxpayer for
the next
few years and then emerge a free woman,” he wrote. “And Maria Korp? She will be
starved to
death.”

Gardner has responded to the criticism today, saying that
although this was a particularly sad case, he’s confident he’s done the right thing.
“Despite whatever some uninformed critics
may have said, we really have protected the interests of somebody whose
disability made it impossible to protect their own, and that provides
some
small comfort,” he told reporters. “She never did [regain consciousness]… All the medical evidence was that it was never going to be
a possibility.”

Meanwhile, Joe Korp was this week ordered to face charges for
his wife’s attempted murder. Korp – who is said to be “extremely distressed” by
his wife’s death – denies he had anything to do with it. But Herman,
who was jailed
for 13 years in July after pleading guilty to the crime, claims Joe
Korp ordered her to kill his wife as she left for work on 9 February. The homicide squad has not yet
said whether it will upgrade charges against Korp to murder.

Peter Fray

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