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Duncan Disorderly

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A man who murdered his Scottish wife and their two grandchildren has been given two life sentences in Australia.


Jean Walsh, 52, had moved to the country from Aberdeen when she was 16.


John Walsh, 70, who was originally from Northern Ireland, attacked her with a hammer, before murdering the children, aged five and seven.


He then tried to kill his daughter with an axe blade and drowned the family dog. Walsh admitted three counts of murder and attempted murder.


He was also given 12 years in jail for the attempted murder of his daughter.


The murders happened at the couple's home in New South Wales in June last year.


New South Wales Supreme Court heard how Walsh killed his wife by hitting her head with a lump hammer and stabbing her as the couple babysat their granddaughter Jaime, five, and grandson Kevin, seven.



A woman who was wounded in the attack was airlifted to hospital


He then killed his grandson with the same hammer and drowned his granddaughter.


The court was told he regarded his wife's murder as a "mercy killing", telling police she was in "poor health".


He planned to kill his son-in-law and daughter before killing himself, but decided to "add his grandchildren to the list" after realising no one would be able to look after them following the killings.


He also drowned the family dog, wrapped it in plastic and put it under the children's bed, later telling police he was worried there would be no-one left to look after it.


When his daughter Shelley called to pick up the children she discovered the bodies before Walsh attacked her with an axe blade and told her: "We are all better off this way".


Ms Walsh survived the attack, but was left with severe lacerations to her head, a fractured skull and torn brain linings.


'Wicked in extreme'


The court was told Walsh was "not in a normal state of mind" when he committed the murders, but there was no evidence of an underlying psychiatric disorder that would explain his actions.


At an earlier hearing, Walsh, from Cowra, pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and the attempted murder of his daughter.


Passing sentence, Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum said Walsh's acts were "wicked in the extreme".


"The offender killed his young grandchildren when they had been entrusted to his care," she said.


"He intended to kill them and planned their murders with grim attention. He killed the children knowing that he had already killed the only person who might have come to their defence.


"He abused the children's trust in him by coaxing them out of their beds. There was a high degree of violence in the murder of Kevin Hodges.


"The murder of Jaime Hodges involved a struggle, during which she must have experienced a degree of terror no child should know."


Outside court, Ms Walsh said: "While I can never get my mother or children back, whatever justice is left for them has been done today."

Edited by Duncan Disorderly
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