The family of a Victorian jeweller murdered in an armed robbery say the killer’s sentence is nothing in comparison to their grief.

The family of a Victorian shop owner murdered by a robber who was high on ice say his 27-year jail sentence is nothing compared to the lifetime of suffering they face.

Gavin Perry, 27, fatally stabbed jeweller Dermot O’Toole as he rushed to protect his wife Bridget during the robbery.

The parolee was high on the drug ice and brandishing a knife when he burst into the Hastings shop, pushed Mrs O’Toole through a glass cabinet and stabbed Mr O’Toole as he lay helpless on his back.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said Mrs O’Toole was forced to witness her husband’s death.

“She had to watch her husband of 41 years die in front of her as he came to her defence,” she said on Monday.

An emotional Mrs O’Toole said her husband did all he could to protect her.

“He was just such a happy man and he died saving me and it’s just so wrong,” she said outside court.

Perry must serve a minimum of 23 years before he is considered for release, in a sentence the O’Toole family described as devastating.

The couple’s son, Christian O’Toole, said the justice system had let down the family.

“A sentence of 23 to 27 years is nothing in comparison to the sentence we have to face and we have to live with far beyond even when it reaches a point that he is released,” he said.

The only explanation Perry offered for his attack on the O’Tooles was that he had been abusing drugs.

Justice Hollingworth said CCTV footage showed him acting in a frenzied manner, consistent with someone on ice.

“People who arm themselves with dangerous weapons and go out with the intention of committing armed robbery run the obvious risk that things may not go to plan, leaving somebody dead or injured,” she said.

“And when such people have consumed ice, there is an even greater likelihood of their reacting violently.”

Perry was on parole when he committed three armed robberies in six days in July 2013 – the final crime targeting the O’Tooles’ shop.

He had been released from jail in early 2013, after serving four years of a six-year term for armed robbery offences.

He pleaded guilty to murder, intentionally causing injury and three counts of armed robbery.