Man who murdered, raped sister could be released soon

A TOOWOOMBA man who has spent almost 30 years in jail for the horrific rape and murder of his sister in 1986 has won the right to have his application for release reconsidered.

James Patrick McGrane was 17 when he was found guilty of the murder of his sister, Dianne Madelaine McGrane, 21, whose naked body was found on the bedroom floor of a pottery shop at Hodgson Vale on Toowoomba's southern outskirts, on March 26, 1986.

She had been bound and gagged, raped and then stabbed 11 times in the back, chest and sides.

McGrane pleaded guilty to rape but not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

At sentence in Toowoomba Supreme Court on June 5, 1986, Justice Ambrose described the attack as "horrific" and sentenced McGrane to life imprisonment for murder and 15 years' jail for rape.

McGrane, now 45, has made a number of applications for release from prison, the most recent in May last year when the Queensland State Parole Board again refused him.

The Board found that "there was an unacceptable risk that (McGrane) would commit another serious offence".

It found through psychiatric reports that McGrane "remains emotionally detached and indifferent to the crime and emotionally detached from relationships with others".

At age 45, McGrane had no experience as an adult in the community and no employment experience, it noted.

However, in a review of the decision by the Supreme Court of Queensland, Justice Philip McMurdo ordered that the Parole Board's decision to refuse McGrane's application for parole be set aside and for the board to reconsider the application.

Justice McMurdo said the Parole Board could have, and should have, considered that a set of conditions could be attached to a grant of parole "which would significantly reduce the relative risk to the community" should McGrane be released.

No date has yet been set for the Parole Board to reconsider McGrane's application.