South Grafton man guilty of murder
THE SENTENCING of a South Grafton man convicted of stabbing a woman to death, then burning her house to conceal evidence of the crime will begin next month.
On Wednesday a Supreme Court jury in Grafton convicted Andrew Sumpton, 49, of the murder of Michelle Roberts at South Grafton on May 18, 2012.
He was also found guilty of two counts of causing malicious damage by fire.
The jury of seven men and five women retired on Wednesday and delivered the guilty verdicts the same day.
Submissions for the sentencing of Sumpton will begin on December 12 before Justice Hamill in Sydney.
The trial began on October 14 and had been scheduled for four weeks.
The court heard Ms Roberts had most likely been knocked unconscious with a blow or blows to her face from an object in the house and then stabbed 24 times to her chest, abdomen and upper thighs.
When her body was found her underpants had been pulled down to just above her knees.
The fire which was lit in the house at 10 Margaret Crescent South Grafton had burnt her face and torso "beyond recognition".
Analysis of her blood revealed an alcohol content of .231 plus traces of marijuana and Valium.
The police officer who led the investigation, Detective Senior Constable Matthew Sippel, said the investigation into the murder had revealed Sumpton as the only suspect.
"By the Thursday (May 24) it had become obvious all the evidence was pointing to him," Det Sippel said.
"The evidence we had was led through the trial and the result was the guilty verdict on Wednesday."
Det Sippel will be in court in Sydney for the sentencing.