Australian teenager jailed for 14 years for murdering British woman

The Lovells were woken by their dogs barking before the attack
The Lovells were woken by their dogs barking before the attack

A teenager who stabbed a British woman in the heart after breaking into her home in Australia has been sentenced to 14 years in jail.

Emma Lovell, 41, died of her injury after the Boxing Day attack in 2022.

Her husband Lee, who was also injured in the stabbing at the family’s house in Brisbane, said outside the court that he believed the sentence was not enough.

“It’s never going to bring her back,” he said of his wife, who emigrated to Australia with her family from their home in Suffolk in 2011.

The killer, who cannot be identified because he was 17 at the time, had earlier pleaded guilty to the murder.

Justice Tom Sullivan said the youth, now aged 19, had committed a “particularly heinous” crime against the Lovell family who were building a life for themselves in a new country

“They were ordinary citizens enjoying their family life in their home where they were entitled to feel safe,” he said while handing down the sentence at Brisbane’s Supreme Court.

He acknowledged that the teenager, who had himself witnessed violence from a young age, began abusing drugs and alcohol at the age of 14 after the death of his grandmother,

Even so this did not outweigh the serious nature of the offence, with the judge ruling that the teenager serve a minimum of nine years and nine months in prison before he was eligible for parole.

The court was told that the Lovells had been woken by their dogs barking before the attack.

Deadly attack

Security footage showed the couple shouting and swearing as they were confronted by two intruders at their bedroom door.

A physical struggle ensued at the front of their home with the teenager stabbing Emma in the heart with a 4.5-inch long knife.

The teen then approached Mr Lovell and kicked him in the face.

A second teenager charged over the attack has yet to enter a plea and is due to appear in court later this month.

The couple’s daughters, who were also at home, could be seen in the front yard sobbing over their mother’s body.

Justice Sullivan said the killer had been convicted of 84 offences in the past including unlawful entry while the owner was at home.

He said that Mr Lovell, in his victim impact statement, had described the loss he and his daughters had felt from his wife’s death.

“Those two daughters who were only young persons themselves directly experienced the devastating aftermath of the violence you inflicted on their parents,” he told the teen.