Emma Lovell: Australian teenager sentenced to 14 years for murder of British woman

  • By Simon Atkinson
  • BBC News, Brisbane

image source, Family photo

image description, Emma Lovell was stabbed to death along with her husband when burglars broke into their home

A teenager who stabbed a British mother to death after breaking into her home in Australia has been jailed for 14 years.

Emma Lovell, 41, was killed while confronting two intruders in Brisbane on Boxing Day 2022.

She emigrated from Suffolk in 2011 with her daughters and husband Lee, who was also injured in the attack.

The perpetrator, who legally cannot be named because he was 17 at the time, pleaded guilty to murdering her earlier this year.

He also admitted three further charges of burglary and assault.

The now 19-year-old was sentenced in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday afternoon local time.

Judge Tom Sullivan concluded Ms Lovell’s murder was a “particularly heinous” crime.

The Lovells were “a loving family” who built a life in a new country, he said.

“They were ordinary citizens who enjoyed family life in their home, where they had the right to feel safe. What happened… completely violated that.”

The other alleged intruder has not yet entered a plea; his case will be heard in Brisbane later this month.

The court heard the couple confronted the teenagers after they were woken by their dogs and pushed them out of the house before arguing in their garden.

There, Ms Lovell was fatally stabbed in the heart with a 11.5cm (4.5in) knife.

Police and paramedics who responded to the attack arrived to find Ms Lovell’s two daughters crying over their dying mother.

Paramedics performed open heart surgery in the front garden of the house, but Ms Lovell died shortly after arriving at hospital.

The attack in the suburb of North Lakes, about 45 km (30 miles) north of Brisbane, sparked intense community outrage and was one of several cases that led the state of Queensland to controversially introduce tougher youth crime laws.

Ms Lovell’s family have previously called for a life sentence for her killer. Adults face a life sentence for murder in Queensland, but the perpetrator had to be sentenced as a child due to his age at the time of the incident.

“I don’t feel that justice has been served in the slightest,” Lee Lovell said outside court in Brisbane.

“It was good to get 14 years, but it will never be enough… it won’t bring Emma back.”