News

Man found guilty of stabbing manslaughter of cousin

BREAKING: John Henry Brown, 33, has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of his cousin Caroline Widgell, 28, in Toowoomba in July 2013.

Brown will be sentenced tomorrow morning.

EARLIER: Murder accused John Henry Brown's defence counsel has invited the jury in his murder trial to return a verdict of manslaughter.

 Brown, 33, has pleaded not guilty to 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 today, defence barrister Robbie Davies told the jury it was not in dispute that his client had caused Ms Widgell's wound.  

What was at issue was whether he intended to kill his cousin.  

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, submitted what other intention had he had but death.  

Ms Widgell had turned away and walked back to the house, telling her cousin, "John stabbed me, Cuz".  

At the close of the Crown case this morning, 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, also 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.  

Forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Milne who conducted the autopsy told the court Ms Widgell had a wound 4.3cm left of the middle of the chest which was 16mm in length by 7mm in width.  

He estimated the depth of the stabbing wound to be about 7cm between the third and forth rib.  

He estimated the degree of force to cause such a wound to be "as little as mild".  

The jury will retire to consider a verdict after summing up of the case by Justice Peter Lyons.  

EARLIER: A jury charged with determining whether a Wilsonton Heights man murdered his cousin more than three years ago is expected to begin verdict deliberations this afternoon.

The Crown has closed its case against John Henry Brown who has pleaded not guilty to murdering his cousin, Caroline Widgell, in Wilsonton Heights in 2013.

The jury will hear closing addresses from the Crown and Brown's defence counsel which were expected to begin about 11.30am.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict this afternoon.

The trial, before Justice Peter Lyons, began on Monday.

Topics:  court editors picks murder toowoomba toowoomba court


Stay Connected

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

Gatton's Imperial Hotel fire case closed

FOR SALE: Police investigations have closed for now on the Imperial Hotel Fire, and the owner will be selling the land.

Arson ruled out for Imperial Hotel.

Agronomists urge farmers to follow biosecurity rules

DOUBLE CHECKING: Landmark agronomist Nev Watts checks on local tomato vines for any irregular pests and viruses.

Queensland to keep tomato potato psyllid at bay

Toogoolawah's new principal is leading the way

NEW FACE: Toogoolawah State School principal Nathan de May checks in with the Prep class.

New principal takes the lead in Toogoolawah

Local Partners

MKR recap: The secret ingredients to longevity and success

THERE are some sure-fire ingredients that add flavour to the drama curry, and MKR’s latest episode is a perfect example of that. Jo Thornely explains.

MOVIE REVIEW: Logan doesn't pull any punches

THE WOLVERINE: Hugh Jackman in a scene from the movie Logan.

Gritty, real performances worth the gore in new X-Men movie.

Booval boy keeps winning over bride

BUILDING A BOND: Alene Khatcherian and Simon McQuillan are still going strong on Married At First Sight.

Alene Khatcherian and Simon McQuillan are still going strong

WATCH: I'm A Celebrity's 'most dangerous’ jungle test yet

Jonathon ‘J. Mo’ Moran testing the Riding High Tucker Trial on set of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

Lisa Curry will take on reality show's ‘most dangerous’ Tucker Trial

MOVIE REVIEW: Miss Sloane is entertaining and smart

Jessica Chastain in a scene from the movie Miss Sloane.

JESSICA Chastain is superb as formidable lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane.

Adele in Queensland: Where you can see her

Adele will be doing two major shows in Brisbane on the weekend.

15-time Grammy winner travelling with her four-year-old son Angelo

Adele nails opening Australian concert in Perth

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2016 file photo shows Adele onstage at the Brit Awards 2016 at the 02 Arena in London. Adele, who has five Grammy nominations, announced Tuesday, Dec. 6, including album, song and record of the year.

Adele nailed her opening Australian concert in front of 65,000 fans.

Old fireman's hall to make way for Maccas carpark

Workers remove the roof from the old firemans hall in Limestone Street in preparation for its demolition to extend the McDonald's carpark.

Demolition workers move in on Limestone St property

Major Burrum Heads development to go to vote

Site development plans for the proposed lot conversion at Burrum Heads, near Beach Dr.

Councillors will vote on the lot conversions.

Casino boss loses $4m on waterfront Sunshine Coast home

The owner of this stunning Noosa home accepted much less than he had initially wanted for the home.

When illness struck owner forced to try and cash out of property

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

Mackay's property market climbing like a Rocket Man

Renewed confidence in Mackay means more homes are being snapped up by those eager to plant their roots in the region.

There's movement in the real estate sector and it's all positive.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!