A man whose mother may have deliberately crashed her car, killing herself and a daughter, ruminated about the deaths for years before murdering his father.
Christopher Robert Mieglich, now 20, was only six when he and his three siblings were in the car which crashed into a tree near the family’s dairy farm in the Adelaide Hills.
His barrister, Michael Woods, told the Supreme Court that Mieglich ruminated about the cause of the deaths and became obsessed with killing his father despite knowing he had done nothing wrong.
“This young man grew up in an environment where there was more than speculation about whether his mother took her own life and tried to extinguish their lives,” he said on Monday.
Mieglich has pleaded guilty to murdering Graham Mieglich, 56, by shooting him twice in the head in his bed on June 6 last year.
He also has admitted the attempted murder of retired soldier Stephen Collins, 56, who was shot in the head through the lounge room window of his Gumeracha home on May 26, as he watched TV.
Months earlier, Mieglich was involved in a very minor car accident with Mr Collins.
Justice Michael David said it was perfectly obvious Mieglich “is not well”, although psychiatrists reported he did not have a mental illness but may have an autism spectrum disorder.
Mieglich’s sister, Fiona, said the murder shocked her but she was completely devastated to discover the killer was her brother.
She had been due to be home that night, but at the last minute stayed somewhere else.
“I believe I escaped death that night,” she said.
Mieglich’s aunt, Helen Tripp, said although his mother was mentally ill, his father may have found it easier to deal with the crash by thinking the sun was in her eyes when she crashed.
Although the tree could be seen from the farm, authorities would not remove it.
“How does the tree have more rights than psychologically scarred children?” she asked.
Ms Tripp said she knew her nephew also had been a victim of crime.
The dead man’s partner, Lucinda Kenward, said she was unable to feel anger towards Mieglich and knew his father adored him.
“I feel a deep sadness and am sorry I didn’t realise you were hurting so much,” she said.
Mr Woods said Mieglich was clearly disturbed, had auditory hallucinations and became obsessed with killing his father.
He will be sentenced next month.