Violent female prisoner dies in jail
A prisoner who tried to murder a La Trobe University student has been found dead at the state's main women's prison.
Sarah Jean Cheney was sentenced to eight years with a minimum 4½ years in 2007 for the attempted murder of a 27-year-old woman in the uni library's toilets.
The 36-year-old died last week at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre in Deer Park in non-suspicious circumstances.
Cheney, who had fantasised about killing, left the La Trobe victim with a lacerated spleen and punctured lung in the brutal ambush.
She would have been released years ago but for a violent history of assaults on nurses and staff in prison.
In 2013, she received more jail time for trying to strangle and suffocate a nurse after banging her victim's head against a wall at Dame Phyllis.
"I just wanted to hurt her," Cheney later told police. "It's just she was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The nurse said in a victim impact statement she could not breathe and thought she was going to die.
In a separate attack soon after, Cheney bashed a female prison officer, grabbing her by the hair and repeatedly smashing her head into the floor.
At around the same time, she assaulted a male guard, while handcuffed, hitting him in the face.
A court was told Cheney was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, with narcissistic traits, making it difficult for her to empathise with others.
A Department of Justice and Community Safety spokesperson confirmed a 36-year-old prisoner died at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre on Saturday.
"All deaths in custody are investigated by the Coroner, who formally determines the cause of death," the spokesman said.
Originally published as Notorious female prisoner dies in jail