Serial pedophile Brett Peter Cowan has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 20 years in the Supreme Court today after a jury found him guilty of murder, indecent dealing and interfering with a corpse in December 2003.
Justice Roslyn Atkinson said Cowan had shown “no remorse” and was “beyond rehabilitation” and should not be released in 20 years time but that would be up to the parole board.
Justice Roslyn Atkinson said Cowan, who did not react to the sentence, had tragically and pointlessly snuffed out a young life.
“You didn’t look like a monster, you didn’t look like a paedophile, you looked like an ordinary person,” she told the Brisbane courtroom in the absence of the Morcombe family.
“You knew if he ran away, you’d be caught. So you killed him.
“You killed him because you didn’t want to get caught.
“Everything about what you did to that child was horrific and disgraceful,
“This is not just a murder, but a terrible murder. It has had widespread and shocking impacts.”
Cowan was also sentenced to three-and-a-half years for indecent treatment and two years for interfering with a corpse, to be served concurrently.
The parents of Daniel Morcombe were not present for the sentencing of their child’s killer.
Child protection advocate Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said the sentence should have been stronger, but was the best available in the legal system.
“Life, that’ll do me, as long as he stays there and never ever gets released,” Ms Johnston said.
“This man should never see the light of day again. I would have liked to have seen him in for life 50-100 years no parole.”
— Joel Dry (@JoelDry9) March 14, 2014
Praise for family and police
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says the undercover police officers who brought schoolboy Daniel Morcombe’s murderer to justice should be rewarded.
The prosecution case succeeded after jurors were shown footage of Cowan confessing to the killing of 13-year-old Daniel in the presence of undercover police officers posing as members of a national criminal syndicate.
Asked if these officers needed to be rewarded for their undercover work in 2011, Mr Newman agreed with the sentiment.
“There are many ways that they can be acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts,” the premier told reporters in Houston, Texas.
“Just getting this result, having the satisfaction of bringing a predator like this to justice is reward enough for their great efforts.”
But Police Commissioner Ian Stewart, who decides such rewards, expressed dismay that undercover police methods needed to be aired before a jury to secure Cowan’s conviction.
“The more widely it’s known, the less effective it becomes,” Mr Stewart told reporters in Brisbane.
Mr Newman paid tribute to the Morcombe family, including Daniel’s parents Bruce and Denise, for setting up the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to educate children about predators.
“I also thank the Morcombes for their calmness and dignity, and grace under all the trials and tribulations of the last few years,” he said.
“They’ll be an inspiration to everybody.
“They have just done amazing things since in terms of helping educate our kids and protect them against such predators, and we thank them for the work that they have done.”