Nine years' jail for stabbing mum and daughter 17 times

18th November 2017 9:35 AM
Funeral of Melanie Perks and her daughter Ebonie Perks. Photo Contributed Funeral of Melanie Perks and her daughter Ebonie Perks. Photo Contributed contributed

THE man who admitted to stabbing a Toowoomba woman and her daughter 17 times has been sentenced to nearly a decade in prison for their deaths.

In an incident described as "tragic" by Justice James Douglas, Melanie and Ebonie Perks bled to death after they were stabbed with a knife in their Newtown home at 8.30am on January 28, 2014.

The 20-year-old defendant, who cannot be named due to being 16 at the time, pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter last month in Toowoomba.

He was known to the victims.

Full details of the incident were finally disclosed in the Supreme Court today, with Crown prosecutor Carl Heaton describing the scene that emergency respondents found when they arrived that morning.

"(Ms Perks) was in the kitchen, and upon autopsy examination was found to have 15 stab wounds, three wounds to her back, one to the back of her right wrist and 11 wounds to her front and neck," he told the court.

"Of particular seriousness was the wound to the front-left of her chest, which penetrated the pericardial cavity and the heart, and resulted in a massive loss of blood in the chest cavity.

"(Ebonie) was found to have two stab wounds - one in her chest and one in her back.

"She was in her bedroom, (and) the most serious of the injuries was the stab wound to the back, which cut the descending thoracic aorta."

Mr Heaton said upon examination from psychiatrists, the defendant was found to have schizophrenia and therefore had impaired capacity to "control his actions or know he ought not to do the act, or both".

"He explained his account of what had happened, which included that he'd stabbed (Ms Perks) multiple times," Mr Heaton continued.

"He then proceeded to (Ebonie's) room, where he stabbed her.

"He said that all of this occurred while he was in a dream-like state."

Defence solicitor Katarina Prskalo recommended an eight year sentence, saying her client's mental health had improved since being taken to an adult correctional facility, noting to the court that his recent behaviour had been "very good".

Justice Douglas gave the man nine years in prison, with three years and 10 months already served prior to sentencing.

The man was hugged by relatives before he was led out of a dock.

Ebonie's grandmother Mary Perks told The Chronicle outside court the family had been rocked by the incident, and were still shaken nearly four years after it occurred.

"It's been a tragic time for our family, and it's taken a toll on all of us," she said.