Wednesday 18 September 2019

Australian man jailed for persuading wife to kill herself

Graham Morant was convicted by a Queensland state Jury in October on charges of counselling and aiding his wife to suicide in 2014.

Graham Morant (Darren England/AAP Image via AP)
Graham Morant (Darren England/AAP Image via AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

A husband who wanted to claim his wife’s life insurance has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for persuading her to kill herself in what a judge described as an Australian-first conviction.

Graham Morant was convicted by a Queensland state Jury in October on charges of counselling and aiding his wife to suicide in 2014.

The judge sentenced the 69-year-old on Friday to 10 years in prison and ordered him to serve at least five before he is eligible for parole.

Mrs Morant was a vulnerable person with difficulties with her physical health Justice Peter Davis

While people have been convicted before in Australia of helping someone to suicide, the judge says no one has been convicted in Australia before of persuading someone who would not otherwise have taken his or her own life to suicide.

Each conviction carries a potential life sentence.

Jennifer Morant was suffering from chronic back pain and depression when she took her life.

Justice Peter Davis rejected the husband’s claim that he had acted through compassion for his 56-year-old wife, finding the motivation was to collect 1.4 million Australian dollars (£880,000) from three life insurance policies. Prosecutors told the court the husband wanted to spend the insurance on building a religious commune.

“Mrs Morant was a vulnerable person with difficulties with her physical health,” Mr Davis said. “You took advantage of those vulnerabilities in order to persuade her to kill herself and then assisted her to do so once she had made that decision.”

Mr Davis said Morant had shown no remorse for his actions and his wife had died in a lonely place.

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