News

Convicted cousin killer to be sentenced in court

Caroline Widgell was stabbed to death by her cousin John Henry Brown in Wilsonton Heights in 2013.
Caroline Widgell was stabbed to death by her cousin John Henry Brown in Wilsonton Heights in 2013.

CONVICTED killer John Henry Brown has been found not guilty of murdering his cousin Caroline Widgell but guilty of her manslaughter.

Brown, 33, pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder arising from the death of his cousin Caroline Widgell, 28, who was stabbed in the chest at a Seppelt St address in Wilsonton Heights just after 9pm, July 4, 2013.

In his closing address, Brown's barrister Robbie Davies invited the jury to find his client guilty of manslaughter.

Mr Davies said it was not in dispute that his client had caused Ms Widgell's chest wound which led to her death.

However, the issue was whether he had intended to kill her.

Mr Davies said if there was any rational hypothesis consistent with innocence, the jury must acquit his client of murder.

"What he is guilty of, ladies and gentlemen, is manslaughter," Mr Davies submitted to the jury.

Crown prosecutor Mark Whitbread argued that by the evidence put before the trial John Brown had intended to kill Ms Widgell or at least cause her grievous bodily harm.

Brown had been staying nearby at a Lindemann Crt home of his cousin and had arrived on foot at the Seppelt St residence and went straight to the back yard where Ms Widgell and others were gathered.

After calling her away to the front yard where the pair was alone, he had stabbed her "one quick and sudden blow to the chest", Mr Whitbread said.

Ms Widgell had turned away and walked back to the house, telling her cousin "John stabbed me, Cuz".

Mr Davies made a defence admission that a steak knife found in the front yard soon after the incident had blood on its blade that was DNA matched to Ms Widgell.

Mr Whitbread submitted similar steak knives were found in the kitchen drawer at Lindemann Crt where Brown had been staying, suggesting he had taken the knife to the Seppelt St address, suggesting intent.

Brown had left the scene after the incident and was found later that night in Wine Drive Park not far away, he said.

When challenged by police, Brown had immediately fallen to his knees and put his hands behind his head, telling police "Just put me in jail", Mr Whitbread submitted.

During a subsequent police interview, Brown had told a detective "I killed my cousin, does that mean anything", he said.

The jury retired to consider a verdict at 2.43pm but returned at 4.23pm with a question for Justice Peter Lyons seeking clarification of murder as opposed to manslaughter.

The jury then retired for another half-hour before returning with a verdict of not guilty on murder but guilty of manslaughter.

By its verdict the jury had not accepted John Brown had intended to kill Ms Widgell despite plunging the knife into her left chest to a depth of 7cm and leaving a 16mm by 7mm wound.

She was pronounced dead soon after being rushed to hospital.

Justice Lyons adjourned sentence until this morning and remanded Brown in custody.

Topics:  editors picks john henry brown manslaughter murder toowoomba wilsonton heights


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Fire ablaze in Morayfield

FIRE crews are battling a blaze in Morayfield.

Fire crews are battling a blaze in Morayfield.

Police warn residents as thieves target Burpengary, Narangba

POLICE WARNING: Police have issued a warning to Narangba and Burpengary residents.

Live in Burpengary or Narangba? You might want to lock up.

Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support to be hit by strikes

Centrelink will be hit by industrial action.

Customers being urged to look at alternative options

Local Partners

First he was arrested, then he stole and crashed the cop car

A police car has been stolen and crashed this morning in Bellemere - and the thief didn't even have the car key.

Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Countdown to Woodford Folk Festival begins

ECONOMIC BOON: Woodford Folk Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Photo Contributed

The first larger-than-life inhabitants have stepped into Woodfordia

'I need to do what I can': 65km walk for cancer patient

Karlee Robinson is walking from Caloundra to Noosa for her cousin Aaron Parker, who has terminal brain cancer.

What do you do when someone you love has terminal brain cancer?

Sia, Keith Urban top Aussie Grammy nominations

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban at the 50th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards

Beyonce dominates with nine nods for 2017 Grammy Awards

Hailey Baldwin: I don't understand Taylor Swift's squad

Hailey Baldwin has taken a quick stab at Taylor Swift and co.

Taylor Lautner 'spotted smooching co-star'

Taylor Lautner has been romantically linked to Billie Lourd

David Beckham's tattoos come to life for UNICEF campaign

David Beckham has called for an end to violence against children

Pop star Liam Payne's Facebook hacked with porn

"Things that can happen to you when you don't have sex."

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather during his childhood.

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!