Family torn apart by horror double murder
"THIS was the reaction of a drunken male not accepting a breakup, not accepting the blame for it and instead attacking those who in some form of distorted thought are perceived as the cause of (his) woes."
As public and horrific as the deaths of Manjinderjit Ghuman and Sukwinder Kaur were, in a residential Gordonvale street, at the heart of it was yet another terrible and ultimate example of domestic violence.
Through claims of insanity, Justice Jim Henry cut through it all as he sentenced Balwinder Singh Ghuman, 46, to life in jail in the Cairns Supreme Court on Thursday, simply calling it a "drunken response to rejection".
Sodden in vodka, a bottle he had bought at 10am that morning, he lashed out at his wife about 3.30pm on March 14, 2016, two days before their wedding anniversary, stabbing her more than 20 times, before turning his fury towards her elderly parents.
His family, including daughters Manraj and Jasman, had grown fed up with the drinking and the anger, and had demanded he return home to India.
"You obviously assessed that finally your domestic existence as you had known it to that point was over," Justice Henry said. "(There had been) a build-up of discord in your home. (You didn't know how to cope) in a civilised way to the collapse of (your) marriage.
"You wound up in an arranged marriage, struggling in circumstances where those around you blossomed."
The court heard some of the signs were there years before.
In 2009, police were called to the house after Ghuman threatened his wife with a knife.
Three years later, the court heard he told her he'd do it again, kill her and go to jail for it.
Just four months before the deaths, police were called again after he - in the words of Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane - "acted like a pork chop" and drunkenly banged on the door and threw rocks at his in-laws' house next door while yelling to those inside to come out.
Manjinderjit's daughter Manraj revealed a glimpse of life inside the Wiltshire Dr home during a powerful statement she read out in court in the moments after the jury found him guilty of two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of wounding.
She spoke of 20 years of struggling through the former taxi driver's ineptitude as a father and the ongoing suffering of her mum.
"How could I possibly sum up the social, mental and future impact that I will continue to feel from one man's actions for over 20 years?," the young university student said.
"A father is supposed to be a caretaker, protector and a person that I should be able to trust with my life, however I got the complete opposite of these characteristics.
"My own father betrayed me and manipulated me and broke my trust.
"He continuously hurt me and my family."
Many of those on Wiltshire Dr who watched the trauma unfold remain traumatised by what they saw, with Mrs Kaur stabbed repeatedly in the centre of the street in the middle of the afternoon.
Some had to re-live it while giving evidence in court.
Lead investigator Detective Sergeant Dan Bramham said emergency services arrived to mayhem that day.
"It was a terrible thing for that entire street and some of the witnesses have suffered horribly by this," he said.