Australian man who told his wife to kill herself sentenced to 10 years in prison

Washington Post

An Australian man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday after a judge ruled that he'd helped his wife commit suicide in 2014 to reap more than $1 million in life insurance - a conviction that is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Prosecutors said 69-year-old Graham Robert Morant of Queensland persuaded his 56-year-old wife, Jennifer Morant, to kill herself in her car on Nov. 30, 2014. He reportedly drove her to a hardware store to buy the supplies she needed to do so, according to the Australian Broadcasting Company.

According to the report, Jennifer Morant suffered from chronic pain, anxiety and depression at the time of her death. She had three life insurance policies worth $1.4 million in Australian dollars, of which Graham Morant was the sole beneficiary. She was discovered with a note that said "please don't resuscitate me."

Last month, a jury found Morant guilty of counseling and aiding suicide. The former charge carries a maximum 10-year sentence, which Morant will serve concurrently with the six-year sentence of aiding suicide, according to the BBC.

"You took advantage of her vulnerability as a sick and depressed woman," Judge Peter Davis said during the sentencing. "You counseled your wife to kill herself because you wanted to get your hands on the $1.4 million."

Davis said Morant had "not shown any remorse" for his actions, and that his financial status as of 2014 made his sinister intentions even more apparent. Prosecutors allege that Morant was in debt, had limited funds and wanted to spend the funds on a religious commune "as a haven from the biblical rapture."

Morant initially said he had nothing to do with his wife's suicide, according to ABC. During the trial, Jennifer Morant's friend Judy Dent said that before her death, Jennifer Morant had "made it clear her husband wanted the insurance money."

Dent testified that Jennifer Morant told her: "I have to kill myself and Graham will be helping me." After the sentencing, Dent told ABC she'd remember Morant for her "bubbly, very full-on, very engaging" personality.

"I don't think there's any winners in this situation and it's been a long four years," Dent said.

The case has parallels with that of a young American woman, Michelle Carter, who was convicted last year in the death of her boyfriend after she'd pushed him to commit suicide through calls and texts. She was sentenced to two and half years in a correctional facility, with 15 months suspended.

Morant will be eligible for parole Oct. 23, 2023.

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