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Nicholas Baxter is accused of murdering six-week-old baby Matthew in November 2011

NICHOLAS Baxter has been convicted of killing his six-week-old baby Matthew.

Baxter, an ex-army corporal, had pleaded not guilty to murdering his son, by shaking or striking him on November 3, 2011.

The jury of eight women and four men found him not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter.

They took 11 hours of deliberations before reaching the verdict in Townsville Supreme Court.

Baxter was supported by his wife Tenae, her family and his extended family during the lengthy six-week trial.

Ms Baxter gasped, said “No, no, no” then cried after the verdict was read out. Baxter did not show emotion.

During the trial, the jury heard from 40 prosecution witnesses and 19 defence witnesses.

Baxter will be sentenced at 10am tomorrow.

BY THE NUMBERS

• It took six years for Nicholas Baxter to face trial after his son’s death.

• The jury heard from 40 prosecution witnesses

• Matthew died at 43 days old.

 

Ex-cop Louis Mahony thought he’d got away with staging wife Lainie Coldwell’s murder

The scene at the Charleville house where Louis Mahony (inset) claimed his partner of 18 years fell from a ladder in 2009. Picture: Jamie Hanson

EVEN on the day he was arrested for murder, cocky ex-cop Louis Mahony was so confident he’d get off, he told officers they would soon be shouting him drinks to apologise.

For six years Mahony thought he had fooled the world after ruthlessly disposing of an inconvenient wife.

He’d staged the scene to make it appear that Lainie Coldwell, his defacto wife of 18 years, had fallen from a ladder at their Charleville home on August 23, 2009.

It convinced the country cops, who didn’t realise they were staring at the murder weapon – a bloody antique iron lying among rocks where Lainie supposedly fell and struck her head.

Mahony thought his dreams were in reach – he had Lainie’s multimillion-dollar life insurance policies to cash in.

Lainie Coldwell with husband Louis Mahony and their young daughter, who was three when her mother was murdered.

He was also free to pursue the foreign women on 457 visas at the local abattoir, where he worked after leaving his former career as a Northern Territory police officer.

The flies in the ointment were detectives from the state’s homicide squad, brought in to reinvestigate the case years after Lainie’s supposed freak accident.

“He said to me, ‘Renee, one day when this is all over, you are going to buy me a beer and apologise for what you’ve done to me’,” Detective Renee Hoile recalls of the day she arrested Mahony in December 2015.

Mahony’s prediction was proved spectacularly wrong last week, when he was convicted of killing Lainie, the mother of his young daughter.

With the 43-year-old sentenced to life imprisonment, the inside story of his downfall can now be told by the detectives who brought him to justice.

Detective Acting Sergeant Renee Hoile and Detective Inspector Damien Hansen, who broke the case open. Picture: Jamie Hanson

They revealed how a calculating and “narcissistic” Mahony initially researched car crashes and poisons before deciding to stage a fatal fall. He spent the day of his wife’s funeral planning a romantic getaway with a lover.

It’s hard to escape comparisons with Queensland’s other egotistical wife-killer, Gerard Baden-Clay, who murdered wife Allison in 2012 and thought he could escape justice.

In both cases, the accused was involved with other women and stood to benefit from large insurance payouts. And in both, the women standing in the way of a life of ease and fortune ended up dead.

Interestingly, insurers were the first to raise the alarm about Mahony. About two weeks after Lainie died, they contacted Charleville police to report they had more than a passing interest in the case.

Two life insurance policies worth a whopping $2.25 million had been taken out in Lainie’s name in the two months before her death. Suspicions were so grave, the company refused to pay out the policies.

The blood-stained antique iron that Mahony used to kill his wife.

Mahony arrives at court in Charleville for his committal hearing.

The blood-stained antique iron that Mahony used to kill his wife.

In 2009, it had been Mahony who made the triple-0 call, saying he found Lainie unconscious in a puddle of blood at the base of a large gum tree. She must have fallen taking down party lights in the tree, he said.

Lainie, 36, was flown to the Royal Brisbane Hospital, with Mahony by her side. Her family made the agonising decision to turn off her life support system and donate her organs.

At the scene, a rusted and bloodied antique iron lying among rocks at the base of the tree was photographed but not collected. It has not been found since. It is now believed Mahony used the iron to deliver a fatal blow to the back of his wife’s head.

In a tragic series of failings, a lone detective in Charleville made little headway before moving away, leaving the case to stagnate.

Local sergeant Gerard Thornton always had his suspicions and tried to pursue the investigation between other duties before calling in Brisbane-based homicide detectives in early 2013.

The case had an unusual complication. Because Lainie’s organs were donated, an autopsy had not been conducted. So, Detective Hoile and colleague Karen Murray set about contacting the medical specialists brought in from hospitals around the southeast to work on the organ donation process.

They confirmed that Lainie’s only significant injury was a single blow to the back of her head.

Lainie had supposedly fallen at least five metres from a ladder propped on the tray of Mahony’s ute.

“There were no ribs broken, no other organs injured,” said Detective Inspector Damien Hansen, who manages the homicide squad.

Photographs from the scene showed blood had inexplicably seeped onto the flat of the iron, which had been face down on rocks at the tree’s base. Strands of Lainie’s blonde hair were clearly visible amid blood on the underside.

As part of the original investigation, police had seized and held Mahony’s laptop. When computer expert James Morris, a civilian from the Queensland Police electronic evidence examination unit, inspected the computer, he struck gold.

Crime scene photo of the ladder balanced on the back of Mahony’s ute

Tributes at the base of the tree near where Lainie’s body was found.

Before Lainie’s death, Mahony had Googled terms including poisoning, car crashes, head injuries and forensic science. After her death, he was back online organising his love life.

“He’s searching Gold Coast limousines and Dracula’s Restaurant, and the Marriott Hotel on the Gold Coast. That’s leading up to the funeral and on the day of her funeral,” Detective Hoile says.

For a cop with an intimate understanding of police procedures, Mahony made plenty of mistakes.

In his triple-0 call, he twice said Lainie was face down.

“That’s not possible if the injury is to the back of the head,” Detective Hoile says.

Call records to insurers showed that before his wife’s death, Mahony had asked whether they would pay out if someone died in a car crash but wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. And compromising videos of Mahony and a Korean co-worker were found on his laptop.

Lainie was aware of Mahony’s affairs and made it known that she was leaving him and taking their daughter, Dakota, then three.

Three years after he murdered his wife – while still a free man – Mahony remarried a wealthy divorcee. She continued to raise Dakota when Mahony was arrested in 2015, and she stood by him through his trial.

To this day, Detective Hoile is struck by Mahony’s lack of remorse in robbing Dakota of a mother.

“There was never a time in my discussions with him where he ever displayed emotion when he was talking about her. If there was any emotion, it was about him,” she said.

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IT’S a haunting photograph.

A little boy sits in the gutter dressed in an oversized blue forensics suit. He is barefoot and rests his head on one hand as he listens intently to the stranger sitting next to him.

The stranger — a Gold Coast detective — has just arrived at Upper Coomera, a quiet ordinary suburb that has suddenly become a major crime scene.

It was inside the child’s home the horror unfolded. His mother Renee Kuch, 39, and father Corey Croft, 37, had been stabbed to death more than 24 hours earlier by Ms Kuch’s ex-partner Christopher Carter, a former soldier.

Carter had gained custody of the pair’s two children, now aged 16 and 19, in 2015 and she began a relationship and had another child with Mr Croft.

The 39-year-old was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter this week by a Brisbane Supreme Court jury, the jury clearly believing his account that he killed the pair out of self-defence.

The young boy is comforted outside his home after both his parents were killed. Photo: Glenn Hampson

When he left their home that night, on January 20 2015, the only person still alive inside was the couple’s five-year-old son who had been asleep in his room when his parents were killed.

The boy woke to an unimaginable scene. His parents were dead. There was so much blood he is now traumatised by the colour red. He picked the knife from near his mum’s body and put it in the sink.

He then waited for help. But no one came.

PRAYERS FOR A ‘GUILTY’ VERDICT

The little boy’s grandmother Jo-Anne Kuch is angry.

She couldn’t sit through every day of the trial and wasn’t up to being there when it all came to an end late Thursday afternoon.

Her partner was in court to hear the jury foreman deliver the not guilty verdicts for the murders of her daughter and her partner.

“I couldn’t be there. I would have had a heart attack,” Ms Kuch told news.com.au from her Gold Coast home.

The things she heard during the trial devastated her. The trial process made her angry.

“I’m shattered, I’m so upset and angry. I felt like killing someone last night… It’s an injustice, an injustice in the legal system. It’s quite simple.”

Her partner Rod left the court when the verdicts were read. The two slipped out before the media frenzy that surrounded Mr Carter — who was about to walk out of court, a free man, for the first time in two years.

“It’s just horrendous, absolutely horrendous and heartbreaking.”

Ms Kuch and her family have endured a living hell in the two years since the stabbings.

“We’ve waited two years. It’s affected all of our lives, especially [the boy]. As I said to you, he’s developed ADHD, separation anxiety, he locks all the doors and windows at night.”

She is angry things were said in court about her daughter that she was unable to defend herself. The jury was told of binge drinking and affairs — accusations Ms Kuch rejects.

‘WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE COME AND HELP ME’

Ms Kuch is shattered most about the impact the killings are having on her grandson. He turned eight a week before the trial began.

“He’s OK at the moment. He wasn’t himself last weekend. We wanted to make a happy day at the park, he went swimming and on a boogie board but I could just tell he was affected.”

He lives with Ms Kuch’s sister and they are doing their best to give him a normal life, but they worry the emotional scars — not to mention what he saw and heard that night — will return to haunt him.

Ms Kuch can barely bring herself to look at the picture of him sitting in the gutter. His clothes had been replaced with the forensic suit given to him by officers who arrived within minutes of the 000 call.

More than 24 hours after the stabbings, Ms Kuch’s sister — with whom the boy now lives — went to the house after calls went unanswered.

She found the bodies and rescued the boy from the home.

Renne Kuch’s son and her mother Jo-Anne Kuch. Picture: Facebook

“He said after, ‘Why didn’t someone come and help me.’ It’s just horrendous,” she said, detailing for the first time what the boy went through.

“He couldn’t get out of the house because Corey was [dead] at the front door. He thought they were playing tricks on him,” she sobbed.

He thinks he can remember shouting that night, but has never said what he saw or heard inside the home. But Ms Kuch said he recently remembered “seeing a man”.

The family has managed to keep the trial away from him so far. But they know he will one day learn the truth.

He saw a psychologist regularly who was helping him cope with the horror he’d seen. He hates the colour red because that’s all he saw when he woke up, but had made good progress recently.

“My sister got him into sport and everything he touches turns to gold. He’s a good runner, he plays soccer — he just tries everything. It’s just a sham that Renee and Corey aren’t here to see him grow up.”

INSIDE THE HOME

This trial was no whodunnit, no mystery. Mr Carter never denied stabbing the couple. The central question the jury members had to grapple with was whether prosecutors could prove he had the intention to murder them.

Ms Kuch was stabbed at least 10 times. The fatal blow was to her neck and was so severe it severed her spinal cord. Her partner had five stab wounds, all in the neck and head.

The trial heard Carter was made aware Croft had forced a 10-year-old girl to shower with him and that he was a convicted paedophile who had raped a child in South Australia.

Ms Kuch told news.com.au she “condemns paedophiles” but insists her daughter wasn’t aware of Mr Croft’s past until she was expecting his child.

“Renee didn’t know about his past. She had the child, but you still don’t kill paedophiles, you don’t have that right. [Corey] was a great father to [the boy] and he and Renee had a good relationship. Sometimes it wasn’t, but that’s just a normal relationship.”

During his closing address on Wednesday, Crown prosector Glen Cash QC argued Carter intended to kill Croft and Renee Kuch.

Former soldier Christopher Carter leaves the Brisbane Supreme Court after being found not guilty. Picture: AAP

Christopher Carter said he was acting in self defence.

“The intent was one he developed in the course of the interactions, not that he came there to kill,” he said.

But Mr Carter’s barrister David Brustman QC argued it was not murder but an “unforeseeable” event that was the result of years of tension and hostility between Mr Carter and Renee Kuch.

Mr Carter gave evidence at trial and told the jury he went to the home just to talk to his wife.

The Crown alleged he went there, a former soldier who knew how to kill, to commit murder.

After a heated argument at the doorway, the court heard Ms Kuch appeared with a knife and the two wrestled over it. He stabbed her several times, and then said he was attacked by Mr Croft.

“I was stabbing Corey. As we moved back into what was the doorway, Corey fell to the ground.

“I didn’t know where Renee had gone through that period. I’ve just stood up and started moving to the back of the house,” Carter said.

Corey Croft was a convicted child sex offender..

Police outside the couple’s home. Picture: Annette Dew

It was then he said Ms Kuch attacked him again

“I was in a state of shock, I couldn’t believe what happened. I stabbed her. I didn’t mean to do it. I pushed her down off me. The way she fell to the ground … it was essentially like she was unconscious and I’ve seen a pool of blood was coming from her head.”

He admitted he placed the knife in her hand.

“The only thing I remember thinking in my head was: ‘It’s your knife, you can have it back.’”

A MOTHER’S LOVE

Ms Kuch couldn’t listen to the graphic evidence. Few parents could. Each time the details of her daughter’s injuries were spoken in court, she broke down in tears.

She wants her daughter remembered in a different way to what she says are mistruths from the court case.

“She was a beautiful, caring mother who loved her children. She was well liked at work, she would do anything for anyone.”

She worked in aged care, but at one stage dreamt of a career in the police force. “She didn’t pass the physical though because of her asthma.”

Not guilty…Christopher Carter.

Police found Renee Kuch and Corey Croft’s bodies inside their home. Picture: Annette Dew

Now the trial was over Ms Kuch told news.com.au she could finally go ahead with plan to scatter her ashes. She has a spot in mind, a part of the Queensland coast that is special to the family.

“That’s where my brother’s ashes were spread. A lot of Renee’s friends will be there, they’re all married now with children.”

The date she has set is not going to be Renee’s birthday, but January 20. It will be three years since she was killed.

“That’s when we are going to do it; that’s when she was taken from us.”

www.ozrural.com.au     www.clublibido.com.au

DAY one of the Jayde Kendall murder trial has wrapped up after the jury heard evidence from the 16-year-old’s father and brother.

Bruce Morrissey described his daughter as a quiet girl who was “determined to do her studies”.

“… She was very conscientious. She would always, always dedicate herself to her studies,” he said.

He said the teenager worked at McDonald’s since 2014 and was paying him every week “without fail” after he helped her buy a new car.

But he said she suffered from anxiety in 2013, which involved some self harm.

“She had cut herself a couple of times. I asked her about it and she did show me they were just like, scratches,” he said.

Mr Morrissey told how he sent Jayde two text messages while he waited outside McDonald’s for her to finish her shift. But she never made it to work that day.

Her younger brother, Brandon Morrissey, told a police officer in a recorded interview played to the jury that she had no reason to run away.

“She was like really happy with her family and that,” he said.

The trial continues tomorrow.

3PM: THREE women will give evidence that murder accused Brenden Bennetts strangled them during rough sex, a Supreme Court jury has been told.

Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury QC has finished her opening address to the jury in the trial of Bennetts, who is accused of killing 16-year-old Jayde Kendall two years ago.

Ms Loury revealed towards the end of her address that three women would give evidence about rough sex with Bennetts.

She said the women would talk about occasions “where he was having sex with them… where he put his hands around their throats and squeezed, strangled.”

Ms Loury has called her first witness in the case, which is Jayde’s father, Bruce Morrissey.

EARLIER: Jayde Kendall’s cause of death is a mystery, but the last person to see the Gatton schoolgirl alive has admitted he killed her.

Brenden Bennetts, 21, has pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to manslaughter in relation to the death of Jayde on August 14, 2015.

But the prosecution has not accepted his plea and this morning opened its case for murder, a charge to which Bennetts has pleaded not guilty.

Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury QC told the jury 16-year-old Jayde’s day began like any other.

Her father took her to school in the morning, via McDonald’s to drop her uniform off ahead of a shift that afternoon.

“But sadly she would not make her shift at McDonald’s and she would never make it home, she died that day,” Ms Loury said.

“And she died at the hands of Brenden Bennetts.

“(He) drove her to an area south of Gatton… killed her by some unknown means and dropped her dead body in agricultural land.”

Jayde was reported missing when her father, Bruce Morrissey, went to pick her up from McDonald’s about 9pm that night and was told she never clocked on.

Thirteen days later, her body was found on a property at Upper Tenthill covered in grass.

She was still in her Lockyer District High School uniform.

“… Her body was too decomposed for the pathologist who performed the post-mortem on her to determine her cause of death,” Ms Loury said.

It is alleged Bennetts picked Jayde up from school in his red Toyota Corolla on August 14 after they exchanged a series of messages – including 48 pictures on Snapchat – since the day before.

Ms Loury said in a message on the day Jayde went missing, she indicated she was “nervous”.

“All those messages had been deleted from his (Bennetts’) phone, but the computer analyst was able to retrieve them,” she said.

The Snapchat pictures can’t be recovered due to the nature of the app, Ms Lourey said.

The court was told there was CCTV footage of Bennetts using Jayde’s ATM card to withdraw $70.

Data from Google Maps also places him in the area where her body was found, Ms Lourey said.

Ms Loury’s opening address to the jury will continue this afternoon.

The trial is expected to run for two to three weeks.

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Berlin: A German nurse serving a life sentence for murdering two of his patients is believed to have killed at least 86 others entrusted to his care, officials said Monday, in what they described as an imagination-defying series of crimes.

The nurse, identified as Niels Hoegel, was sentenced to life in prison in February 2015, after a court in the northern town of Oldenburg found him guilty of administering overdoses of heart medication to some patients in an intensive care ward in Delmenhorst.

He was convicted of two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and causing bodily harm to patients and is serving his sentence.

During his trial, the former nurse confessed to intentionally inducing cardiac crises in 90 of his patients, 30 of whom he said had died. That prompted officials to launch an investigation into the deaths of some 130 of Hoegel’s former patients. The results were presented Monday in Oldenburg.

At least 84 of the convicted killer’s former patients were found to have died after suffering from injections of five different forms of medication, Johan Kuehme, chief of police in Oldenburg, told reporters.

Authorities are waiting for the results of another 41 toxicology reports, the results of which could drive the number of confirmed deaths even higher, he said.

“The realisation of what we were able to learn is horrifying,” Kuehme told reporters. “It defies any scope of the imagination.”

Former nurse Niels Hoegel stands in the courtroom wearing handcuffs and covering his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg, Germany image www.crimefiles.net

Hoegel, now 40, told the court at the time that he had enjoyed trying to revive the patients. But his efforts did not always succeed, leaving some to become his victims.

Former nurse Niels Hoegel, accused of multiple murder and attempted murder of patients, covering his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg,Germany

The special commission, launched in October 2014, combed through evidence that included more than 500 patient files. It based its conclusions in part on toxicology tests on the remains of 134 possible victims, who were exhumed to see if they contained traces of the chemicals the nurse had confessed to using.

It found that Hoegel had administered lethal injections to patients at a hospital in Oldenburg, where he worked from 1999 to 2001.

In October 2016, prosecutors brought charges against six employees of the hospital in Delmenhorst, on suspicion of negligent manslaughter, for failing to take action despite their suspicion regarding the nurse’s actions.

A related investigation into hospital personnel in Oldenburg is continuing, but no one has been charged.

Niels Hoegel, face covered, was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders at a clinic in the northwestern town of Delmenhorst.Germany.

A live-streamed trial for former Perth man Henri van Breda, charged with murdering his family with an axe, will appear in a South African court on Monday

The van Breda family image www.crimefiles.net

Teresa van Breda, 55, her husband Martin van Breda‚ 54‚ and their eldest son Rudi‚ 22, were found dead at their home on the De Zalze Golf Estate in January 2015.

Mr van Breda was found there with minor injuries alongside sister Marli, then 16, who survived massive head injuries and a severed jugular. She now has brain injuries retrograde amnesia but is reportedly on the list of more than 100 people to testify in the case.

Mr van Breda, 21, handed himself in to Stellenbosch Police station with his attorney in June. He was charged with three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and another of obstructing justice and was released on bail.

The case has attracted global attention, with the first appearance given rolling coverage from South Africa’s News 24 and other local outlets.

Australian media was also at the Western Cape High Court on on Monday, where Judge Siraj Desai has granted an application by Media24 to live-stream the trial, which will begin about 8.15pm Perth time.

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Beijing: A senior Chinese policeman has been jailed for 17 years for embezzling money to buy two Australian homes for his two daughters.

The Australian real estate purchases were among a huge property portfolio, with no obvious legitimate source of funding, Chinese prosecutors said.

Wang Jun Ren police chief of Guta District of Jinzhou City image www.crimefiles.net

One of the homes is a four bedroom, two bathroom house in Revesby Heights in NSW, Australian property records show.

Wang Jun Ren, 59, was the police chief of Guta District of Jinzhou City in Liaoning province, when he began asking a local property developer for millions of Chinese yuan to pay for the Australian real estate purchases for his family.

In return, he outsourced up to 20 construction projects to the property developer, including the construction of police stations, Chinese court documents show.

In 2008, documents showed Wang took 2.36 million Chinese yuan (440,000) from a Beizhen city property developer to buy a property for his oldest daughter, Wang Ju, and her husband, Jin Jing, in Australia.

In August and December 2011, Wang reimbursed 101,911 Chinese yuan in airfares for his wife and daughters’ return travel to Australia from a police bureau bank account, the court was told.

The Revesby house was bought by Wang Ju and her husband for $840,000 in September 2011.

The house in Revesby Heights.image www.crimefiles.net

In September 2013, Wang used public funds to convert currency into $20,000 to visit his family in Australia.

The same year he took another 4million Chinese yuan from the same property developer to buy an Australian property for his second daughter, Wang Ting. The money was transferred directly to her bank account in small amounts by the property developer’s employees, the court was told.

Wang was arrested in August 2015, confessed and returned some of the money last year. He was originally convicted in August 2016.

Around the time of the trial, his daughter moved out of the Revesby house. She has kept it as an investment property, and purchased another home in Sydney’s Castle Hill for $1.7 million.

But a 17-year-jail sentence and 1million Chinese yuan fine was handed down to Wang after Linghai City prosecutors appealed what they said was the earlier, lenient sentence. His wife has been on bail since December.

Wang was convicted of corruptly taking 174million yuan by himself, and another 24,800 yuan with his wife, taking bribes of 680million yuan, and having a huge amount of property of unknown source. That trial was held in December.

The jail sentence comprised of four years for corruption, 12 years for bribe taking, and four years for the unknown funding source of a huge number of properties.

The court heard evidence from the property developer detailing how he transferred the money to Australia, was told that Wang returned the favour to the property developer by outsourcing the construction projects to his company, including the construction of police stations.

The property developer’s son was employed as Wang’s driver at a police station.

LIONEL Patea has been sentenced to life in prison for the brutal killing of his ex-girlfriend Tara Brown on a suburban Gold Coast street. Queensland Australia

LIONEL Patea-murdered-tara-brown-gets-life image www.crimefiles.nettara-brown-murdered image www.crimefiles.net

Earlier, the court heard Patea had ordered his aunt — the mother of singer Ricki-Lee Coulter — to deny Tara Brown access to their child in the days before he brutally killed his ex-girlfriend. A court has also heard Patea phoned the child’s daycare centre to ask one question before carrying out his brutal slaying.

Coulter’s mother, Loretta Sheerin, was babysitting Ms Brown’s young daughter in the days before she was killed.

A supporter of Tara Brown’s family holds a photo of the murdered woman outside court in Brisbane image www.crimefiles.net

A supporter of Tara Brown’s family holds a photo of the murdered woman outside court in Brisbane today. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP

Patea has pleaded guilty to Ms Brown’s murder and will be sentenced in the Brisbane Supreme Court this afternoon.

The court was told during sentencing submissions this morning that Patea commanded his aunt, named in court as Ms Sheerin, not to let Ms Brown see their child while he was in Gladstone for work.

But Ms Sheerin allowed Ms Brown to stay the night and visit the child.

In the days following, Ms Brown applied for domestic violence and child custody orders and was living in a safe house away from the Gold Coast.

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On September 6, she returned to the Gold Coast to stay with a friend and was looking for a rental home to “get her life back in order”.

Interim custody orders with Patea were finalised soon after, and the court was told they were served on Patea’s lawyer on September 7.

About 8am the next the day, Patea phoned Aria’s childcare and asked if she would be attending today.

“It was confirmed that she was,” crown prosecutor Carl Heaton QC said.

Patea chased Ms Brown as she drove away from the daycare, ran her off the road and bashed her to death.

Justice Debra Mullins will hand down her sentence from 2.30pm.

Guilty plea in Tara Brown murder trial

EARLIER: Triple 0 call reveals horror of Tara’s death

LIONEL Patea has pleaded guilty to the murder of his former girlfriend Tara Brown.

Ms Brown, 24, died after Patea ran her off the road in a suburban Gold Coast street in September, 2015.

Tara Brown’s mother Natalie Hinton receives comfort by a supporter outside Brisbane Supreme Court.image www.crimefiles.net

Tara Brown’s mother Natalie Hinton receives comfort by a supporter outside Brisbane Supreme Court.

As she lay trapped in the car, Patea viciously beat her with a cast-iron water hydrant cover.

Ms Brown had just dropped their daughter, Aria, off at childcare when the shocking attack unfolded.

Patea entered guilty pleas to murder, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and unlawful use of a motor vehicle shortly after 10am this morning, before his trial was scheduled to start.

Gold Coast lawyer Campbell MacCallum made a statement outside court on behalf is his client.

In the statement, Patea said he accepted “full responsibility” for his actions.

“I do this with the full support of my family who have encouraged me in my decision to face up to my actions and provide closure for the Brown family,” Mr MacCallum read.

“I do not want to cause Tara’s family further pain.

“I accept without hesitation the punishment imposed upon me by the justice system.”

Earlier, in court, Ms Brown’s mother Natalie Hinton wept as Patea was brought into the dock wearing a navy suit, white shirt and black tie.

It is understood Ms Brown made a harrowing Triple 0 call before her death, which was to be a key piece of evidence in the trial.

The young mum suffered critical head injuries and died the next day in hospital.

Patea’s sentencing hearing has begun, with evidence heard of the brave witnesses who attempted to stop Patea’s brutal actions.

One man, who lived in a nearby home, had helped Patea to get into the car after he ran Ms Brown off the road, believing he was trying to help her. He couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.

Crown prosecutor Carl Heaton QC has told the court Patea began beating Ms Brown with the cover of a water hydrant

tara-brown-murder-victim image www.crimefiles.net

Ms Brown was on the phone to Triple 0 at the time and the attack was recorded.

Mr Heaton said 16 “thumps” are heard on the audio, and then a female witness can be heard saying: “what the f**k are you doing”.

There are another 13 “thumps”, Mr Heaton said, “followed by silence”.

The female witness jumped on Patea’s back at one stage and later stood between him and Ms Brown as she lay trapped in the car and told him to “piss off”.

The male witness had tried to pull him from Ms Brown and phone police, to no avail.

Her death sent shockwaves through the nation, and that grief was compounded when just two days later a Karina Lock was murdered by her husband at the Helensvale McDonald’s.

The domestic violence murders sparked calls from the community for the State Government to act.


National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800 RESPECT.

In an emergency call triple-zero.

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When Justice Elizabeth Fullerton and Robert Xie saw each other, it was usually when the judge was sitting at the grand, elevated bench, and he was below her in the dock.

So it must have come as quite a surprise when Justice Fullerton saw Xie walking along Elizabeth Street during an adjournment in the final weeks of his murder trial.

Lian Bin 'Robert' Xie was arrested almost two years after the Lin family deaths image www.crimefiles.net

Lian Bin ‘Robert’ Xie was arrested almost two years after the Lin family deaths

Justice Fullerton raised the sighting in court and the defence explained that Xie had become locked in the downstairs hallways while going to the toilet, and had to take the Elizabeth Street exit.

The judge accepted the explanation.

The dark, labyrinth-like corridor below the courts in the historic King Street complex is painted in public hospital pastels.

It leads to toilets, mediation rooms and old cells with imposing metal bars, then to court number 5 and out onto Elizabeth Street, across from the shiny facade of David Jones department store.

Xie was on bail during the course of his trial, and while his being on the street in court hours was perhaps unusual, it was not in breach of his conditions.

It is standard practice for accused people on bail to use abundant caution and stay within the court building during a trial so they don’t come into contact with anyone involved in the proceedings.

Guilty Robert Xie arrives at the NSW Supreme Court image www.crimefiles.net

Xie’s bail was revoked on December 22 in a decision unrelated to the incident, but in anticipation of the jury retiring to consider its verdict.

When the trial resumed after Christmas for the end of the judge’s summary, defence barrister Robert Webb asked for Xie to have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

Justice Elizabeth Fullerton, who presided over Robert Xie's trial. image www.crimefiles.net

Mr Webb produced a medical certificate and said the prison diet was aggravating a possible stomach ulcer.

Though Xie was charged with five murders, he was granted bail in late 2015, after the jury in his third trial could not reach a verdict.

Justice Fullerton noted that being in custody for more than 4½ years without a conviction had taken a heavy toll on Xie’s mental wellbeing.

“For an accused person to remain in custody for five years or more is impossible to view as fair and commensurate with a fair and just criminal process,” she said at the time.

Xie was found guilty of five counts of murder in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday.

A Queensland Australia couple have each been given life in prison for the sadistic torture and murder of mother-of-four Tia Landers.

Drug supplier John Edward Harris and his partner Linda Eileen Appleton were sentenced in Brisbane’s Supreme Court on Friday after pleading guilty to murdering Ms Landers in a brutal and bloody encounter at their Brighton home in June 2014.

Tia Lander-murder-victim-qld-australia image www.crimefiles.net

Tia Landers’ body was discovered, wrapped in a blanket, in a shallow grave at Beerburrum State Forest with 30 wounds. Photo: Facebook

Harris will have to spend at least 27 years behind bars before being eligible for parole, while Appleton must serve at least 23 years.

Justice Jean Dalton ordered their parole eligibility to be set beyond the statutory 20-year minimum for the “sadistic” killing, where Ms Landers was cut with a machete, bashed, kicked, stomped, and then twice shot in the head.

“The offending involved a protracted, sadistic and brutal torturing of Ms Landers over a period of hours,” Justice Dalton said.

The motivation for the killing, she said, stemmed from Appleton’s suspicion Ms Landers was having an affair with Harris, and stealing her clothes and jewellery.

Justice Dalton said Appleton was so obsessed with the idea of revenge that she began plotting it from inside jail seven days before Ms Landers’ killing.

A letter of apology from the 43-year-old was given to the Landers family on Friday, but Justice Dalton said she had great difficulty reconciling it with the evidence.

Appleton and 44-year-old Harris, who at one point held hands in the dock during sentencing, initially pleaded not guilty to the murder but reversed their pleas after five days of evidence in their trial.

It followed guilty pleas to interfering with her corpse and depriving the liberty of two men, Jake McKenzie and Ryan Morgan.

During the trial, Mr McKenzie told the court a fight had escalated at the couple’s home after Appleton slashed open Ms Landers’ leg with a machete.

Harris eventually retrieved a gun and shot her in the head, but she was “still alive enough to say no” before being fired on a second time.

During sentencing, the court heard Harris had previously been jailed for manslaughter in a case with striking similarities to Ms Landers’ murder.

In that case, the victim’s body was also wrapped up and dumped in the Beerburrum forest.

In a powerful victim impact statement read out in court, Ms Landers’ mother Mary said it was difficult to convey how the brutal crime had affected her life.

“There are no words adequate to describe the pain, anger and despair that I have felt from her murder,” she wrote.

“I have lost my faith and trust in people. I have trouble finding joy in the simple pleasures of life.”

Outside court, Haley Matthews said no sentence for her cousin’s brutal killing would be enough for her family.

“While Harris and Appleton were handed life sentences … this in our opinion is not justice,” she said.

“The only people who have received life sentences today are those who loved Tia, especially her children.”

AAP

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