Serafattin Huseyin is escorted into the Melbourne Magistrates Court by police after the 1989 siege.

Serafettin Huseyin is escorted into the Melbourne Magistrates Court by police after the 1989 siege. Photo: Rodger Cummins

A man who 25 years ago poured petrol over four children he held hostage in a nightmare seven-hour siege at a Hawthorn kindergarten to publicise his wife's medical compensation claim has now been jailed for a "cold-blooded" attack on her with a hatchet.

A Melbourne judge on Friday told Serafettin Huseyin he had attacked his defenceless wife as she slept in their home in a cowardly, premeditated and vicious fashion.

Judge Frank Saccardo said in his sentencing remarks that Huseyin, 62, had shown no remorse which suggested his prospects of being rehabilitated were "slight".

Serafattin Huseyin in a court sketch. <em>Illustration by Jim Pavlidis</em>

Serafettin Huseyin in a court sketch. Illustration by Jim Pavlidis

Judge Saccardo told Huseyin that his prior offending at the kindergarten and the attack on his wife reflected that he felt he had the right to take extreme and violent actions to draw attention to his perceptions he had been wronged.

He jailed Huseyin for nine years and six months and ordered him to serve seven years - less 505 days already served in pre-sentence detention - before being eligible for parole.

Huseyin was imprisoned for 21 years in 1990 by a judge who told him he had treated the children - three boys and a girl aged four who sustained serious chemical injuries - "appallingly" and in "terrifying circumstances".

Huseyin entered the Manresa kindergarten at 10am on May 9, 1989, armed with an imitation pistol, tomahawk, nails, steel bars, cloth, a can of petrol and matches.

The assistant director helped 16 children escape, but Huseyin caught four, locked them in a toilet cubicle and threatened to kill them unless his wife, Zehra, was brought from a psychiatric centre.

The children could be heard screaming, crying and whimpering before the siege ended about 5pm.

The day before, after a series of hunger strikes staged to publicise Ms Huseyin's health problems, blamed on doctors' alleged negligence over the birth of their son Esin, she threatened to set fire to herself on the steps of Parliament House. She was stopped and admitted as an involuntary patient to the centre.

At an earlier trial in Melbourne's County Court - more than a decade since his release after serving 14 years' jail - the furniture maker recounted his version of the siege to a jury in pleading not guilty to intentionally causing serious injury to his wife as she slept in their Dandenong unit on November 1, 2012.

Prosecutor Sally Flynn had described Huseyin's plan as "cold and calculating" and his attack "ferocious and sustained" by a man "fixated on events many years ago".

Ms Flynn had urged Judge Saccardo to impose a disproportionate sentence due to the risk Huseyin posed, the nature of the offence and the "circumstances of this man".

In her victim impact statement, Ms Huseyin spoke of the "deep, dark, muddy, marshy, stinking well" her husband threw her and their son into, of living in fear and her "blackened" life and existence.

In evidence, Ms Huseyin said that years earlier he had threatened to "do your face piece by piece" if she divorced him.

Several days before the attack, she testified, Huseyin warned she would "pay the price" if she left him, then in the early hours of November 1 she awoke to Esin's voice asking: "Dad, what are you doing?"

Ms Huseyin recalled feeling dizzy, nauseous and in pain and her husband's words: "You wanted this."

She denied defence lawyer Stephen Payne's suggestions that Huseyin never threatened to injure her or that there was an argument over divorcing him.

Their son told the jury he woke to an unusual noise and "pulled aside the curtain and I saw my father standing ... leaning over my mother".

"He had one hand on her and the other hand had a hatchet in it and I saw all this blood on my mother's head," Mr Huseyin said.

He got his father out the front door and called triple 0.

In evidence, Huseyin said that, for the judge and jury to "understand what has happened in the past, I want to be able to tell you in detail what led me to act like what I have done".

"This is something in the past, why I attacked her, and I want to tell you a little bit about what has happened in the past," he said.

Huseyin noted his wife's "unsuccessful" caesarean operation in 1978 because of the "doctor's faults", her further surgery, his workload, her being initially denied a disability pension and then fighting for compensation "because of what injustice was done to her".

In 1989, he said, Esin was fostered out and in frustration, his wife decided to set herself on fire.

"The following day, on 9 May 1989," he told the jury, " I took hold of the kids at the Hawthorn kindergarten.

"I didn't hurt ... I didn't do any harm to the children. I kept the children there for about seven hours.

"Then I gave myself up. Even though I did not hurt or harm the children, I copped 21 years of [a] jail sentence."

Huseyin claimed that after his release from prison his wife was "always trying to create problems, creating fights".

"She felt like killing me while I am asleep," he alleged.

Questioned by Ms Flynn, Huseyin agreed he had decided to hit his wife with an axe while she slept because he was angry he had learnt it was her friend's idea to have a baby, not hers.

Mr Payne had told Judge Saccardo that Huseyin, who had refused to co-operate with a psychiatric assessment, was a protected and "completed isolated" prisoner without friends, belongings or money who "spends his days planning fishing trips".

Mr Payne made no submissions about his client's remorse or insight and "in one sense it would be improper to even suggest those things".

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Saccardo said Huseyin had been angry with his wife because he felt she had misled him about the reason and timing of her pregnancy that led to the birth of their son.

Judge Saccardo declined to impose a disproportionate sentence because he was not satisfied to the necessary prerequisite that he represented a danger to the community.

He said, however, the circumstances of his crime were so "grave" it was sufficient to impose a "stern" sentence, one sufficient to protect his wife and the community generally.

The judge also noted that his sentence was just but not "crushing", and took into account that Huesyin would be isolated in prison and would spent his senior years in custody.

He directed that those who managed him in custody be informed of a psychiatrist's opinion that it was appropriate that Huseyin be assessed and monitored for mental health issues.