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 manslaughter murder toowoomba wilsonton heights



LISTEN: Resident airs frustrations over parking debacle

Paid parking has pushed hospital commuters into suburbia, proving problematic for residents.

Parking pressures felt in suburbia of hospital precinct

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

NSW Sport comments on Lennox Head Ski Jump

An artist impression of the Ski jump facility at Lennox Head. The size of the structure has upset locals, but it may not be as big as it appears in the artist impression.

Lennox Head Ski Jump on its four week exhibition

Local Partners

Lismore City Council to demolish much-loved Lake Pool

LISMORE City councillors have backed down from spending $2.75 million to refurbish the Lismore Lake Pool, the scene of many happy childhood memories.


First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Stories Troy Cassar-Daley carries around

LEGEND: Troy Cassar-Daley after receiving the Golden Guitar Award for Album of the Year during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

You can see him in Ballina this weekend

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Rebel Wilson says she didn’t have to lie to make it

I’M not glamorous, but that doesn’t make me a liar: that’s the message from Rebel Wilson on her second day in the witness box.

All bets on Judah to win battle to become the Voice

Judah Kelly from The Voice.

Judah Kelly is the clear favourite to win the competition.

Kim Kardashian slammed over Manchester tribute

Kim Kardashian's tribute to Manchester didn't go down well

Top Gun 2 movie is happening, Tom Cruise confirms

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Top Gun.

TOM Cruise delights fans with announcement on Sunrise.

The first Baywatch movie reviews are in

From left, Jon Bass, Alex Daddario, Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera in a scene from the movie Baywatch.

Critics were less than impressed.

Boyfriend loses it over sex lie

Stacey Louise’s sex lie destroys her relationship.

SEVEN Year Switch’s Stacey told a fib about her sex life.

Why Crowe’s thankful for those ‘bulls**t’ rumours

Russell Crowe and Terri Irwin in 2007.

Crowe and Terri Irwin have been dodging dating rumours for years now

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Bonville to become new housing hub

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into housing

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!