Ebonie Perks (left) and mother Melanie Perks.
Ebonie Perks (left) and mother Melanie Perks. contributed

Man who stabbed family to death denied mum's life insurance

A TOOWOOMBA man who stabbed two family members to death has been found ineligible to access his slain mother's life insurance policy.

Mitchell Perks, who was sentenced to nine years' jail in 2017 over the deaths of mother Melanie Perks and 12-year-old sister Ebonie Perks, applied to the Federal Court to access to the funds while in custody charged with the violent attack.

He was 16 when he stabbed the pair but was convicted of the manslaughters as an adult.

The court hearing the application was told Perks had a history of schizophrenia and had pleaded guilty to the deaths under diminished responsibility.

The court heard sentencing judge James Douglas said Perks had reported having strong homicidal thoughts towards his mother and sister prior to the killings and had a history of psychiatric problems.

Funeral of murder victims Melanie Perks and her daughter Ebony, Wednesday, February 05, 2014. Photo Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle
Mourners pay their final respects to stabbing victim Melanie Perks and her daughter Ebonie who were killed in their Newtown home in 2014. Kevin Farmer

Justice Douglas also said Perks had ceased taking medication and was supported by his mother before the stabbing attack.

In a judgment handed down last month, Chief Justice James Allsop said the matter before him centred around "tragic circumstances".

"I was interested in obtaining assistance in seeing whether these funds might yet be able, despite the forfeiture rule, to be used for the benefit of Mitchell, for instance, for the funding of psychiatric help, given his mental health and the burden of the guilt that may now lie upon him," he said.

Under his mother Melanie's life insurance policy, Perks and his sister Ebonie were entitled to 50 per cent each of any pay-out.

Current legislation prevents killers from inheriting money from their victims in a rule designed to stop them profiting from taking someone's life.

After hearing submissions, Chief Justice Allsop directed the funds be paid instead to Perks' grandparents, and the decision to use the funds to help treat the now 21-year-old lied with them.