A husband who wanted to claim his wife’s life insurance has been jailed for 10 years for persuading her to kill herself.
Graham Morant was convicted by a Queensland state jury in Australia in October on charges of counselling and aiding his wife to suicide in 2014.
The judge sentenced the 69-year-old on Friday to 10 years in prison and ordered him to serve at least five before he is eligible for parole.
While people have been convicted before in Australia of helping someone to suicide, the judge says no one has been convicted in the country before of persuading someone who would not otherwise have taken his or her own life to suicide.
Each conviction carries a potential life sentence.
Jennifer Morant was suffering from chronic back pain and depression when she took her life, but she did not have a terminal illness.
Justice Peter Davis rejected the husband’s claim that he had acted through compassion for his 56-year-old wife, finding the motivation was to collect 1.4 million Australian dollars (£880,000) from three life insurance policies. Prosecutors told the court the husband, a devout Christian wanted to spend the insurance on building a religious commune.
“Mrs Morant was a vulnerable person with difficulties with her physical health,” Davis said. “You took advantage of those vulnerabilities in order to persuade her to kill herself and then assisted her to do so once she had made that decision.”
Davis said Morant had shown no remorse for his actions and his wife had died in a lonely place.
Useful websites and helplines
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and Ireland (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
You can call Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Monday-Friday 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.
Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070.
Rape Crisis services for women and girls who have been raped or have experienced sexual violence - 0808 802 9999
Survivors UK offers support for men and boys - 0203 598 3898