A man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for encouraging and helping his wife to kill herself, so he could access her $1.4 million life insurance.
Graham Robert Morant was found guilty last month of persuading his wife Jennifer Morant to kill herself in her car and helping her buy the necessary equipment from a hardware store.
The court heard Morant was the sole beneficiary of Ms Morant’s three life insurance policies, which Justice Peter Davis concluded was the motivation for his actions.
“You took advantage of her vulnerability as a sick and depressed woman,” Justice Davis said during sentencing.
“You counselled your wife to kill herself because you wanted to get your hands on the $1.4 million.”
With the money, Morant planned to build a religious commune with bunkers in the Gold Coast hinterland as a haven from the biblical rapture.
Justice Davis said it was obvious that as of 2014 Morant was not a wealthy person, had a small amount of money, no superannuation, and credit card debts.
“Your general financial position was such that $1.4 million was a very significant sum as it would be to most people,” he said.
“You have not shown any remorse for the offences you have committed.
“You did not plead guilty and you did not cooperate with the administration of justice.”
Justice Davis said there had been no conviction in Queensland for the counselling suicide charge and research had also failed to find a conviction for a similar offence in another jurisdiction.
Ms Morant’s family cried as the court sentenced Morant to 10 years in jail for the counselling charge, and six years for the charge of aiding suicide.
Ms Morant, who suffered from chronic back pain, depression and anxiety, was found dead in her car by police in 2014, with the doors closed and a note saying “please don’t resuscitate me”.
Morant will be eligible to apply for parole on October 23, 2023.
Karyn Walsh from the support group Micah Projects, which helps victims of domestic violence, said psychological abuse and control was a big problem.
While unable to talk about the specific case, Ms Walsh said the issue went hand in hand with other forms of abuse.
“It is the control of someone’s freedom and liberty of choices and it is integral to most circumstances of domestic violence,” Ms Walsh said.
If you need or anyone you know needs help, you can call: Lifeline on 13 11 14; Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800; MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978; Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467; Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36; Headspace on 1800 650 890; QLife on 1800 184 527