A father who drunkenly stabbed his wife and mother-in-law to death in far north Queensland has been sentenced to life in jail for their murders, with a non-parole period set for 30 years.
Balwinder Singh Ghuman, 46, was found guilty this morning in a Cairns court of two counts of murder.
He was also found guilty of attempting to murder his father-in-law and of unlawfully wounding his daughter.
The attacks happened on March 14, 2016 at Gordonvale, south of Cairns, where three generations had lived in two neighbouring houses.
Ghuman had pleaded not guilty to the murder of his 43-year-old wife Manjinderjit Ghuman and mother-in-law Sukhwinder Johal, the attempted murder of his 75-year-old father-in-law Sarwan Johal, and wounding of his daughter Manraj Singh Ghuman.
The trial heard Ghuman had been drinking and had lost control after a domestic dispute.
Ghuman admitted his actions caused the two deaths, but over a week-long trial in the Supreme Court in Cairns, the defence unsuccessfully argued he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and alcoholism and could not form the requisite intention to kill.
‘Savage killing of loved ones’
But in summing up, Justice James Henry told the court it was “little wonder [the jury] rejected the defences in that context”.
“The sad reality of human affairs is that the savage killing of loved ones or family members can be caused in an emotional and drunken response to rejection,” he said.
“The consequences of your actions have been catastrophic — catastrophic for you, but more importantly, catastrophic for your family.
“You have inflicted unimaginable grief on them. Your actions will have a lifelong impact on all of them.”
In a emotional victim impact statement read to the court, his 20-year-old daughter Manraj said she wished it was her that died instead of her mother and grandmother, and levelled blame for her ongoing grief at the “selfish man” who took those people away.
“My mum and grandmother will not see me graduate from university next year,” she said.
“My mum and grandmother will not be there on my wedding day.”
Justice Henry sentenced Ghuman to life in jail for the two murders, 15 years for the attempted murder, and two years for the unlawful wounding, with a non-parole period of 30 years.