Former Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay has been found guilty of the 2012 murder of his wife Allison.
The seven men and five women jury handed down their verdict in Queensland’s Supreme Court this morning following three days of deliberations following the 18-day trial, which ran over six weeks and heard from 72 witnesses, including the accussed.
The prosecution alleged that Baden-Clay, 43, killed his wife, the mother of their three children, at their family home in the western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012, then dumped her body beside a creek in Anstead, where it was found 11 days later.
Baden-Clay had contacted police to say Allison had failed to return home from a walk. He was charged with her murder a few months later, but pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution’s case was built largely around circumstantial evidence and revealed that his business was in financial trouble and he’d had a number of affairs, including one with a colleague who he allegedly promised he’d leave his wife for.
It was also alleged that he was $1 million in debt, a figure almost covered by the payout on his wife’s life insurance policy.
He also had facial wounds on the day his wife disappeared, but said he cut himself shaving. Expert witnesses said the marks were consistence with fingernail scratches.
Baden-Clay denied the prosecution’s allegations under oath. His defence team pointed to Allison Baden-Clay’s history of depression and a post-mortem toxicology that found antidepressants and alcohol in her system, suggesting she had jumped or fallen to her death during her walk.
Jurors returned to the Justice John Byrne a number of times for clarification during their deliberations.
After the verdict, the parents of Allison Baden-Clay read their victim impact statements to the court.
He mother, Priscilla Dickie, said that the discovery of her body transformed them from a happily retired couple to caring for three young girls.
She said discovering how troubled the marriage was was distressing and devastating and that her son-in-law disgusted her.
“He betrayed her. He has made a mockery of their marriage and their life together,” she said. “For the love of her husband and her children, Allison stayed and she died.”
Addressing Baden-Clay, she said “You have changed your daughters’ destiny and sentenced them to a journey they must take through life as a mother.”
Her husband, Geoff Dickie, left many in the courtroom in tears during his anguished statement, in which he said he had failed as a father for not protecting his daughter. He said Baden-Clay betrayed their trust.
“Our granddaughters did not have chance to say goodbye. She will be absent from key events in their lives,” he said.
“”Allison I love you and I miss you.”
Vanessa Fowler, Allison’s sister, said for the first time in the marriage, Allison had come out on top, but added “I feel cheated I never got to say goodbye.”
Justice Byrne sentenced Baden-Clay to life imprisonment, with a mandatory 15-year non-parole period, saying the convicted wife-killer was “thoroughly reprehensible”.
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