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


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Person trapped after car crash in Stanthorpe

TRAPPED: Crews are working to free the person who remains stuck in the vehicle.

Crews are responding to two-vehicle crash

Town Hall toilets to take final flush

FINAL FLUSH: Southern Downs Regional Council have moved to demolish the public toilets in the Warwick Town Hall car park.

SDRC move to dump facility

Silver mine set to be revived

WATER WORKS: Man working at a sluice possibly relating to tin mining near Stanthorpe, ca. 1875.

The Granite Belt polymetallic project could soon be revived

Local Partners

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

BEN Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day in a joint announcement.

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

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

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!