Thursday, September 25, 2008

Grandma-killer jailed for life

A TEENAGER who murdered his grandmother during a heated argument that started over dirty clothes and an unmade bed has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Following a four-day trial, it took a Supreme Court jury in Brisbane less than five hours to find Brett Adam Crowley guilty of the murder of his 81-year-old grandmother, Violet.
Outside court, family spokeswoman Charlene Scanlan welcomed the verdict.
She said her grandmother had taken in Crowley, her cousin, when he had nowhere else to go.
"She was just a caring lady, she loved us all unconditionally. She didn't deserve to die the way she did," she said outside the court.
The court earlier heard Crowley, then 17, stabbed his grandmother in the head and neck during the argument at her unit in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, in June 2006.
Defence Barrister Catherine Cuthbert had told the court her client had been provoked by his grandmother and had lost control during the incident.
She said her client was suffering depression and stress leading up to the incident after crashing his car and losing his job in the space of a few days.
The court heard the argument started when he arrived home some time during the day on June 29 to criticism from Mrs Crowley that he did not spend enough time at home and did not wash his clothes or make his bed.
The argument became more heated when she repeated previous accusations that he had been siphoning petrol from other people's cars.
In his police interview, Crowley said he swore at his grandmother and raised his arm to warn her away.
However, he said she slapped him in the face and he retaliated by pushing her backwards, before forcing her into a bedroom before punching her.
He said he then went to make a cup of coffee to "chill out" but his grandmother attacked him from behind.
The court heard he then "flipped out completely" and grabbed a knife before again forcing his grandmother into the bedroom, holding a pillow over her head and stabbing her twice.
He held her down until she stopped moving and, realising what he had done, unsuccessfully attempted to hang himself, the court heard.
Later he went to a party at a friend's house before finally contacting police and confessing to the crime the following evening.
Justice Richard Chesterman said while he sympathised with Crowley's "tragic" personal circumstances, his actions were vicious and unjustifiable.
"The fact is you killed the woman who offered you a home and offered you some measure of support," he said.
He sentenced Crowley to life imprisonment.
Counting the time Crowley has already served, he will be eligible for parole in 2021.


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