World

Australian teen jailed for 14 years over UK woman's murder

May 13, 2024
Emma Lovell was stabbed alongside her husband when intruders broke into their home
Emma Lovell was stabbed alongside her husband when intruders broke into their home

BRISBANE — A teenager who stabbed a British mother to death after breaking into her home in Australia has been jailed for 14 years.

Emma Lovell, 41, was killed when confronting two intruders in Brisbane on Boxing Day in 2022.

She had emigrated from Suffolk in 2011 with her daughters and her husband Lee, who was also injured in the attack.

The offender, who cannot legally be named as he was 17 at the time, pleaded guilty to her murder earlier this year.

He also admitted to three other burglary and assault charges.

In the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Tom Sullivan said the man - now aged 19 - had committed a "particularly heinous" crime against the Lovells, who he described as a "loving family" building a life for themselves in a new country.

"They were ordinary citizens enjoying their family life in their home where they were entitled to feel safe. What happened... violated that entirely."

Justice Sullivan noted that the offender had himself witnessed violence from a young age and began abusing drugs and alcohol at the age of 14 after the death of his grandmother.

However, his childhood of "deprivation" did not outweigh the seriousness of the offence or warrant leniency in sentencing, he concluded, ruling that the teen serve a minimum of nine years and nine months in prison before being eligible for parole.

Another teenager charged over the incident is yet to enter pleas, with his case listed for a hearing in Brisbane later this month.

The court heard that Mr and Ms Lovell had been woken by their dogs on the night of the murder, confronting the teenage intruders and forcing them outside of their house, where a struggle then broke out in the garden.

There, Ms Lovell was fatally stabbed in the heart with an 11.5cm (4.5 inch) knife.

Police and paramedics responding to the attack had arrived to find her two teenage daughters sobbing over their dying mother.

Medics performed open heart surgery on the front lawn of the home, but Ms Lovell died shortly after arriving at hospital.

The attack in the suburb of North Lakes, about 45km (30 miles) north of Brisbane, sparked community outrage and was among several cases which prompted the state of Queensland to controversially introduce stricter youth crime laws.

The court heard the teen responsible for Ms Lovell's death had been convicted of 84 offences in the past - more than a dozen of them break-in charges - although none of them had been violent crimes.

Ms Lovell's family had previously called for her killer to be jailed for life. Adults in Queensland face a mandatory life sentence for murder, however the offender had to be sentenced as a child due to his age at the time of the incident.

"I don't feel justice has been served one bit," Mr Lovell said, speaking outside of court in Brisbane - pointing out that his family had just one day earlier spent Mother's Day in grief.

"It was good to get 14 years but it's never going to be enough... it isn't going to bring Emma back."

In an emotional victim impact statement, Mr Lovell last week told the court he felt "so lost in life" without his best friend and wife of 22 years.

"The girls and I have had our futures robbed of us."

A statement was also read out on behalf of Ms Lovell's mother, Marjorie Dowson, who said the loss of her daughter had "left a big hole that can never be filled".

"Her death has ruined my life," she said. — BBC


May 13, 2024
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