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’Heinous’: Teen to learn fate for mum murder

Written by on May 13, 2024

A teenager who fatally stabbed a Queensland mum at her home north of Brisbane on Boxing Day will find out whether he will spend the rest of his life in prison for the horrifying act, which was captured on CCTV.

North Lakes woman Emma Lovell was killed when a teenager, then 17, stabbed her in the chest after entering her home in the early hours of December 26, 2022.

The horrific act was captured by cameras surrounding the Lovell home, with audio recording Ms Lovell’s final moments on the family driveway while the teenager and his alleged accomplice fled.

The teenager who inflicted the fatal stab wound is set to learn his fate before Supreme Court Justice Tom Sullivan on Monday.

He pleaded guilty in March to charges of murder, burglary by break-in while armed and in company, malicious act with intent and assault occasioning bodily harm.

Mr Lovell, his daughters and a handful of supporters are in attendance to watch the proceedings.

Prosecutors have pushed for a life sentence for the teenager, asking Justice Sullivan during a sentencing hearing on May 3 to find the offence “particularly heinous”.

If Justice Sullivan declares this, the teenager can receive a sentence higher than the maximum 10-year jail term which can be imposed under Queensland’s Youth Justice Act.

He was just four months shy of turning 18 when he fatally stabbed Ms Lovell, crown prosecutor David Nardone told the court.

Mr Nardone argued the teenager’s “high culpability” during the crime was because he went armed with a knife to the Lovell home.

The child had a lengthy criminal history prior to the murder, including 16 break-and-enters where two of the homes were occupied.

He was armed for the first time when he broke into the Lovells’ home, Mr Nardone said.

In CCTV of the horrific killing, which was played to the court on May 3, the teenager can be seen “stealthily” checking the Lovell’s home and appears “somewhat gleeful” when he finds the door unlocked.

He then moves out of frame, returning with his alleged accomplice and carrying the knife.

The court was told the Lovell’s were woken up by the pair – their fight spilling out the door and onto the front lawn.

Mr Lovell was stabbed twice in the back with the knife before being kicked in the head by the teen while he lay on the ground.

Ms Lovell was then stabbed by the same teen – the 11cm blade snapping from the handle as it pierced her heart.

Despite now being an adult the teenager cannot be identified under Queensland law, as he was a juvenile at the time of murdering Ms Lovell.

Mr Nardone said the teenager was “conscious” of the risk there might be someone in the house given the time of night and a car parked in the driveway.

“At some point (the teen’s) conduct becomes more than just an escape and it provides Your Honour insight into a level of moral culpability involved in his conduct,” he said.

Barrister Scott Lynch, acting for the teenager, argued his client did not intend to murder Ms Lovell despite the guilty plea.

He said the teenager’s murder was “not intentional” as he did not endeavour to wake the family, fleeing when he did.

Mr Lynch said the knife was used in the context of the struggle.

The court was told the teenager had expressed significant remorse for his actions.

More to come.

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