News

Man found guilty of stabbing manslaughter of cousin

BREAKING: John Henry Brown, 33, has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of his cousin Caroline Widgell, 28, in Toowoomba in July 2013.

Brown will be sentenced tomorrow morning.

EARLIER: Murder accused John Henry Brown's defence counsel has invited the jury in his murder trial to return a verdict of manslaughter.

 Brown, 33, has pleaded not guilty to 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 today, defence barrister Robbie Davies told the jury it was not in dispute that his client had caused Ms Widgell's wound.  

What was at issue was whether he intended to kill his cousin.  

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, submitted what other intention had he had but death.  

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

At the close of the Crown case this morning, 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, also 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.  

Forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Milne who conducted the autopsy told the court Ms Widgell had a wound 4.3cm left of the middle of the chest which was 16mm in length by 7mm in width.  

He estimated the depth of the stabbing wound to be about 7cm between the third and forth rib.  

He estimated the degree of force to cause such a wound to be "as little as mild".  

The jury will retire to consider a verdict after summing up of the case by Justice Peter Lyons.  

EARLIER: A jury charged with determining whether a Wilsonton Heights man murdered his cousin more than three years ago is expected to begin verdict deliberations this afternoon.

The Crown has closed its case against John Henry Brown who has pleaded not guilty to murdering his cousin, Caroline Widgell, in Wilsonton Heights in 2013.

The jury will hear closing addresses from the Crown and Brown's defence counsel which were expected to begin about 11.30am.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict this afternoon.

The trial, before Justice Peter Lyons, began on Monday.

Topics:  court editors picks murder toowoomba toowoomba court


Stay Connected

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

Knife-wielding teen, 13 charged over botched robbery

A 13-year-old boy has been charged with attempted arm robbery.

Nicole Kidman reveals engagement secret

Nicole Kidman

Wife of Keith Urban confirms reports of secret engagement

Local Partners

Why Hollywood’s siding with Brad Pitt over Angelina Jolie

TOWARD the end of last month’s Golden Globes ceremony, the producer of the nominated drama Moonlight made a surprise onstage appearance: Brad Pitt.

Tensions high at pointy end of MKR's round two

Things are really heating up on My Kitchen Rules.

Games are being played around the My Kitchen Rules table

Jungle Jay sent packing from I'm a Celebrity

I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Here! contestant Jay Laga'aia with Keira.

BIG friendly giant Jay Laga'aia has been eliminated from I'm A Celeb

Carson Kressley brings 'camp' to I'm a Celebrity jungle

"I am not all Park Avenue and daffodils” ... Carson Kressley.

Meet the "campest” campmate to star on I'm a Celebrity.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi mystery already solved

FILE- This undated file photo provided by Disney shows Daisey Ridley as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from the film, \"Star Wars: The Force Awakens.\" Hasbro said it is changing its Star Wars Monopoly set after an 8-year-old girl became upset that Rey, the movie's female heroine, was not included as a figure along with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. (Disney/Lucasfilm via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

A key mystery surrounding the title of episode eight has been solved

Kids' game "full of f**king paedophiles" according to dad

A mortified dad has expressed serious concerns over an online game

Lisa Marie Presley's ex caught with child pics: court

Lisa Marie Presley, at right, and her husband, Michael Lockwood back in 2010. FILE

Lisa Marie, 49, claimed she was left “sick to her stomach”

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

New suburb in the crosshairs of Coast vandals

UNDER WRAPS: Graffiti on art installations at the entrance to the newly opened Bells Creek Arterial Road has been covered up.

Vandal rechristens Stockland as something less than complimentary

What $11.9m can get you on Coast's most exclusive street

29-31 Wyuna Drive Noosaville Qld 4566

This is what a cool $11.9m can get you

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!