Gerard Baden-Clay will spend a minimum of 15 years behind bars after being found guilty of murdering his wife.
The businessman shook and clenched his hands after being sentenced to life in the Brisbane Supreme Court for the crime against Allison Baden-Clay more than two years ago.
Justice John Byrne pronounced sentence about 40 minutes after Baden-Clay was found guilty by a jury around noon on Tuesday after a 21 day trial, which included 21 hours of jury deliberations.
Baden-Clay, wearing a yellow tie – his wife’s favourite colour – clenched his jaw and closed his eyes as he learned his fate.
Screams erupt in courtroom from Allison Baden-Clay’s family. Cheers of “yes” #badenclay
— Sarah Elks (@sarahelks) July 15, 2014
Allison’s body was found on a creek bank at Anstead in Brisbane’s west on April 30, 2012.
The discovery came 10 days after her husband reported her missing from their home in nearby Brookfield.
Baden-Clay pleaded not guilty to murder but prosecutors argued the former real estate agent probably smothered his wife at their house and dumped her body where it was found under the Kholo Creek Bridge.
He was under significant personal and financial pressure and had promised his mistress he’d be separated by July 1 that year, the court heard.
Baden-Clay vehemently denied the accusations and said he had been working on his marriage and had no plans to leave his wife.
On Tuesday, Allison’s sister, Vanessa Fowler, whispered “thank you” to the jury.
To kill your wife, to take away a mother and to still show no remorse has to us been one of the saddest and most distressing facts from this murder.
The court then heard victim impact statements from her family.
“My daughter was a wonderful mother, a devoted wife, a caring daughter and loving aunt,” mother Priscilla Dickie said in a shaking voice.
But Baden-Clay had betrayed her daughter and made a mockery of their marriage.
“The pain does not go away,” she said.
Her life now revolved around Allison’s three daughters.
“They’ve been condemned to a life sentence without the love and companionship only a mother can give,” Mrs Dickie said.
“To kill your wife, to take away a mother and to still show no remorse has to us been one of the saddest and most distressing facts from this murder.”
Baden-Clay wept as he listened.
Her father Geoff Dickie also told the court of his heartbreak, saying it had left a black hole in his life. He found it hard to sleep and was haunted by thoughts of the moment his daughter died.
“I know she would have found the strength to fight as hard and long as she could until the end before she was murdered,” he said.
Mr Dickie said a father’s duty was to protect his daughter.
“I’ve failed in my duty and I’ll have to live with that,” he told the court.
Allison’s sister whispered the word “bastard” as her father told of giving his blessing when Baden-Clay had asked for Allison’s hand in marriage.
“We accepted you into our family and you abused our trust with your lies and deceits,” he said.
Baden-Clay shook and wept as Allison’s sister Vanessa Fowler told him he was guilty of the most heinous crime.
“My sister, for the first time since she married you, has come out on top,” she told the court.
Justice Byrne said Baden-Clay had shamelessly pretended to search for his wife.
Allison’s sister Vanessa to Gerard: “My sister who today, for the first time since she married you, has come out on top.” #badenclay
— Sarah Elks (@sarahelks) July 15, 2014
He had used a razor blade to disguise what were really the marks of Allison’s finger nails on his face.
He had invented the idea of a drug overdose as a ruse about what had really happened to Allison, and he’d shown a profound absence of remorse for his crime, Justice Byrne said.
“You have no criminal history but you are definitely not of good character,” Justice Byrne told Baden-Clay.
“You took a devoted loving mother from her three girls, blighting their lives.”
Whatever the verdict, I’m thinking about those poor #badenclay daughters who have lost their mother in the most brutal senseless way.
— Mia Freedman (@MiaFreedman) July 15, 2014