Mackay man jailed for attempted murder of mum, stepfather
A MAN who was convicted of the attempted murder of his mother and her partner in the Supreme Court in Mackay on Monday wiped tears from his eyes as the judge outlined the details of his "violent attack".
The 29-year-old man, James Stuart Sprott, of West Mackay, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, one count of contravening a domestic violence order and two counts of assaulting a police officer.
Defence barrister Bronwyn Hartigan told the court of "long-term animosity" between the man and his mother which stemmed from his separation from her at a young age.
This animosity had come to a head when the defendant's son had been mauled to death by a dog owned by the mother and her partner in 2013.
In a statement of facts, Justice Graeme Crow said the loss of the defendant's son had been compounded by the fact he had not been told of the death initially and instead had been told by a third party.
"You were not told about it originally. After your son was killed, at the funeral there was an incident when you mother sat behind you deliberately and abused you by calling you a dog and a c---," Justice Crow said.
"You never received any type of apology for their dog killing your son.
"You were told by a neighbour after the attack that while your son was lying critically injured in the yard your stepfather asked someone to get him a beer."
Justice Crow vividly described the assault of the two victims which resulted in both being admitted to hospital in Townsville and one requiring facial surgery.
The court was told that on the night of April 11, 2017 the defendant had left his Mackay home with two beers. At the time he was drunk and was not wearing shoes or a shirt.
Holding two beer bottles, he arrived at the home of his mother and her partner.
"She saw you and told you to leave," Justice Crow said. "You struck your mother in the face with a beer bottle."
"You grabbed your mother by the throat, slammed her to the floor and stomped on her head," Justice Crow said.
"You picked up a pot plant and slammed it on your mother's face. You assaulted the complainants viscously and you intended to kill them."
A neighbour, who Justice Crow described as a "good Samaritan", stopped the attack by rendering the defendant unconscious.
He said that during the attack the defendant had told his mother "now you know how (my son) feels".
Justice Crow said that in a police interview the day following the attack, the defendant made "full and frank" admissions and confirmed his intention to kill both his mother and her partner.
"You expressively said you did it because 'they had killed your son'," Justice Crow said.
In sentencing, Justice Crow said he took into account the motivating factors of the case.
"The only violence you have ever shown has been towards your mother. It does not excuse your conduct," he said.
"This is the same type of evil and disgraceful conduct you perceive they inflicted upon your son. And for that you must be punished.
"This is not an eye for an eye. There can be no justification for attempting to kill (someone). That is the mark of a civilised society."
Justice Crow said due to the "unusual" nature of the motivating factors and following crimes, it made it "very difficult" to determine the appropriate punishment.
"You have convicted yourself by your admissions," he said.
"In my view this was not a general case and you are not to be sentenced on that basis."
On each of the two counts of attempted murder, the defendant was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment for contravening a domestic violence order and to three months imprisonment on each of two counts of serious assault of a police officer. The defendant was also sentenced to four years imprisonment on a burglary charge. All terms are to be served concurrently.
The man will be eligible to apply for parole on October 10, 2021. "This means you will serve a minimum of four years from the time of your incarceration," Justice Crow said.
The 540 days already served by the defendant since the incident were declared time already served.