Jacob Smith with police as they leave the Dutton Park Police Station.
Jacob Smith with police as they leave the Dutton Park Police Station.

Violent killer’s murder mirrors prison violence

ANTHEA Mari never stood a chance.

As she slept beside her two young children, she was murdered by a coward in the night.

Sleeping on a mattress in the family living room Ms Mari, struck down by a terrible bout of gastro, had a sheet wrapped around her neck, a pillow placed over her face and was smothered and strangled.

Why Jacob Michael Smith, 41, murdered Anthea Mari still remains unknown, but the idea to strangle or smother a person could have been born during a chaotic and callous criminal history started when he was 18.

Anthea Mari.
Anthea Mari.

The chequered history of the killer, with a lengthy rap sheet is varied and violent.

In 1997, in the midst of one of the most brutal parts of Queensland prison history, Smith was serving time at the Woodford Correctional Centre, when prisoner Scott Douglas Mill was strangled with a cord.

Mill's death would become part of a sweeping review into the state's prison system, with police reopening investigations into the deaths of 12 inmates at both Woodford and Sir David Longland Prisons.

An affinity for armed robbery, Smith would serve a stint behind bars for the January 2001 robbery of the Suncorp Metway Bank at Harbour Town, charged with armed robbery with actual violence, three counts of deprivation of liberty, possessing a sawn-off shotgun and car theft.

Jacob Michael Smith.
Jacob Michael Smith.

Six months later, and four years after his time inside Woodford Prison, Smith, 26-years-old in 2001, was charged for his involvement in the death of Mill.

It was alleged that Smith stood lookout while two other inmates strangled Mill.

Jacob Smith with police as they leave the Dutton Park Police Station. In relation to the murder of Brisbane mother Arthea Mari, Dutton Park Police Station - Photo Steve Pohlner
Jacob Smith with police as they leave the Dutton Park Police Station. In relation to the murder of Brisbane mother Arthea Mari, Dutton Park Police Station - Photo Steve Pohlner

Justice Martin Daubney said in the Brisbane Supreme Court this week, "it is perhaps no coincidence that the mechanism by which those two inmates killed a person back then when you were acting as their lookout bares some similarity to the mechanism in which you killed Anthea Mari in 2014".

In 2002, Smith would be sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in jail for his involvement in the death of Mill and the armed robbery of a Chevron Island TAB in 2000.

Smith was out of jail for just 18 months when he snuck into Ms Mari's Norman Park home and murdered her on August 26, 2014.

Jacob Michael Smith at Gaven.
Jacob Michael Smith at Gaven.

A large scale manhunt was sparked when Smith ran from the home, not before raping another person and stealing some of Ms Mari's personal items.

At the time of the search, detective Inspector Rod Kemp warned the public to stay away from Smith.

"We are mindful he could be a danger to the public. Stay away from him and contact police," he said in 2014.

 

Jacob Michael Smith at Gaven.
Jacob Michael Smith at Gaven.

It took 30 hours to track down the career criminal, with police finding him at a home in Gaven, where they found him hiding in a garden, before a police dog bit him on the leg during the arrest.

He has been in police custody ever since.

Yesterday, the cowardly killer was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.

He was sentenced to a further eight years' jail for the rape, three for the attempted rape and 12 months' jail for the assault, all to be served concurrently.

In court Justice Martin Daubney told Smith, "you have spent a lot of your life in jail, you are going to spend a lot more of your life in jail.

"You have an appalling criminal history and despite being given many offers for rehabilitation, you have failed miserably in that regard.

"You have simply continued an unbroken life of crime.

"Whether you understand the concept of rehabilitation is a matter that I doubt, whether you are capable of rehabilitation, is a matter you will have many years to contemplate."

"You mouth regret but you demonstrate no remorse."

Smith will be eligible for parole in August 2039. He'll be 62.