Fuelled by resentment and humiliation at his perceived “inferior” status in the Lin family, Robert Xie crept into a Sydney house and bludgeoned five of his wife’s relatives to death.
More than seven years and four trials later, Xie continues to maintain his innocence, telling the jury that convicted him by majority verdict on Thursday, “I did not murder the Lin family.”
“I am innocent,” he said as the jury left the NSW Supreme Court.
His wife Kathy Lin cried.
Xie used a hammer-like object to inflict horrific head injuries on his newsagent brother-in-law Min “Norman” Lin, 45; his wife Yun “Lily” Lin, 43; her sister Yun Bin “Irene” Lin, 39; and the Lins’ two sons, Henry, 12, and Terry, 9.
Parents of victims shed tears of relief
Mr Lin’s mother wailed as she left court.
Holding pictures of their loved ones outside court, she and her husband spoke to the media, mostly in Mandarin.
“My son has been avenged,” Feng Quin Zhu said in Mandarin.
“The law has given me truth.
“God can see this.”
After two aborted trials and another resulting in a hung jury, the latest jury took eight days to deliberate and informed Justice Elizabeth Fullerton on Thursday they could not reach a unanimous verdict.
Shortly after Justice Fullerton allowed the jury to reach an 11 to one decision they returned a verdict to bring an end to the six-month trial.
Back in July, 2009, Xie was joined by his wife in an emotional public plea for information to help solve the terrible crimes., saying he couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to harm the family
Xie snuck away at night to murder Lin family: prosecutors
But Xie was found to have left his bed in the early hours of July 18, hours after attending a “normal” Friday night dinner with his extended family.
At the Lins’ North Epping house, he disconnected the electricity before making his way upstairs in the dark.
He then killed his brother-in-law and his wife as they lay in their bed and did the same to Irene in the next room.
Blood splatters revealed a furious struggle took place in the third bedroom occupied by Xie’s nephews.
But schoolboys Henry and Terry still suffered the same shocking fate.
“This was a well-planned crime of a personal nature, by a single person who has carefully improvised a murder weapon,” prosecutor Tanya Smith said.
Xie fuelled by ‘resentment and bitterness’
The former ear, nose and throat specialist believed he was entitled to respect and admiration within the extended family, but felt he was denied this because of the uncritical and misplaced high regard given to Min Lin.
The Crown said this made Xie angry and resentful.
Xie’s wife supported his alibi, that he didn’t leave their bed that night, but the Crown suggested Xie sedated her before creeping into the Lin residence around the corner.
Ms Lin lied at times to “assist” her husband, not because she knew he was guilty but because she was convinced he was framed by police, Ms Smith said.
The Crown also contended Xie had a sexual motive, details of which cannot be published for legal reasons.
Four of the victims died from the combined effects of blunt force trauma and asphyxia, involving injuries indicative of neck compression.
The Crown cited Xie’s medical skills, while Witness A, who was in jail with Xie, said Xie showed him a particular location on the neck, which was incapacitating.
Witness A also testified seeing Xie, who always appeared calm in the dock, screaming at an elderly inmate who was using a walking frame.
“The whole (exercise) yard stopped,” he said.
“It was like zero to 100.”
Defence barrister Robert Webb had argued the “highly organised” and brutal execution involved multiple assailants, also contending that Xie got on well with his relatives.
He particularly loved his nephew Henry whom he treated like a son.
But the Crown said the boys and Irene were “collateral damage” or secondary victims who may have woken up when the adults were being murdered.
“The Crown case is that he came to kill Min and Lily and was prepared to kill others should the need arise.”
The matter has been listed for sentencing submissions on February 10.