Teen who tried to kill his mother eligible for parole



A young man who was jailed for attempting to kill his mother, who had supplied him with drugs from when he was 12, has had his jail sentence reduced after an appeal.

The offender was a child of 17 when he repeatedly stabbed his mother in 2018, while psychotic, and after a "horrendous" upbringing, the Court of Appeal heard.

He pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Supreme Court in March, aged 19, and was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail, with parole eligibility next year.

But the Court of Appeal has reduced his head sentence to six years after considering his mother's gross failures as a parent and his mental disorder.

His drug-addicted mother, a prostitute and drug supplier, began giving him cannabis when he was 12, the court heard.

His mother became his drug pusher and he was smoking cannabis every second day and became addicted, later developing psychosis.

When he was 14, his mother gave him some methylamphetamine to try and he then began using it every day, with his mother supplying it, the court heard.

A psychiatrist said he "anxiously sought proximity to his damaged and dysfunctional mother".

He became "entwined in his mother's lifestyle of heavy drug use" and became increasingly both dependent upon and hostile to his mother, the court heard.

By the time he turned 16, he had developed a drug-induced psychotic disorder.

In March, 2016, his mother took him to a hospital as he was ranting that he wanted to kill her and his family.

He said he was seeing dragons in the sky and said his brother was looking at him with "evil eyes".

He reported being possessed by a friend called Wylie, who was controlling his mind and telling him to harm himself.

On the day before the attempted murder he consumed a significant amount of cannabis and his mother then supplied him with more drugs.

When he woke up on the day of the offence he found that his mother had left him "breakfast" - some cannabis, a pipe and a lighter - beside his bed.

Later that day his mother took him to "a party", where he was given methylamphetamine to smoke.

When he woke up that night he believed that she was a mass murderer and that she had killed her ex-boyfriend, and he went and got a knife.

After smoking more methylamphetamine he began to think: "I had to kill her. But didn't want to. I thought I just had to hurt her."

He thought that the "Asian population" was going to attack Australia and that his mum "was in it and stuff" and she was planning to kill him.

He went into his mother's bedroom and began to stab her, slashing her on the head, face, neck and other parts of her body.

She ended up with a collapsed lung and a fractured bone in her head.

When police arrived, her son was covered in blood and brandishing a knife.

He said: "I got a little bit psychotic and I was reading my mum's mind and I kinda lost control because of [it] … Yeah, there's plenty of people involved, there's at least seven thousand coming".

The sentencing judge described the stabbing as reprehensible, odious, and "particularly heinous".

The court heard the son had been a hard worker in jail, he had been treated for psychosis and was off all medication.

"The frenzied stabbing by a boy of his mother might rightly be described as heinous," Court of Appeal president, Justice Walter Sofronoff, said.

"But, when one has regard to the conditions which drove this offender to commit the offence … to all the circumstances, the character of it may be regarded differently and very far from an offence that is particularly heinous."

Justice Sofronoff said there was no consideration given by the sentencing judge to the actual effect of the son's psychosis upon his moral culpability or his mental disorder.

Nor was consideration given to the revelation of his true character through his conduct "when free of his mother's baleful presence".

The sentencing judge also had given no weight to the victim's own actions, which led to his condition of mind that made him capable and prone to commit the offence, the judge said.

"His upbringing was not only horrendous, but (his) mother's gross failures as a parent constituted one of the most powerful factors that led to (his) commission of this crime," Justice Sofronoff said.

"That his real good character was always overborne by the vices inflicted upon him by his victim has been revealed by his behaviour when free of those afflictions.

"His propensity to commit this offence was due, in large part, to his diagnosed mental disorder, of which there is a real prospect he will be cured."

On July 27, three Court of Appeal judges unanimously allowed the appeal, set aside the previous sentence and ordered the son be jailed for six years, with parole eligibility from August 15, this year.

Originally published as Teen who tried to kill his mother eligible for parole