Brett Peter Cowan guilty of murdering Daniel Morcombe

Statement to media

Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise Morcombe, address the media outside the Supreme Court in Brisbane. PICTURE: Network Ten

CONVICTED child killer Brett Peter Cowan is yet to be sentenced after he was found guilty of abducting, assaulting and murdering 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

The jury returned from seven hours of deliberation and delivered their verdict in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon.


After hearing the emotional victim impact statements from Daniel’s father, mother and two brothers, and the final submissions from both prosecution and defence teams, Justice Atkinson said she would reserve her sentencing.

In their final submission, the prosecution stated Cowan had “no real remorse”, adding he was a danger to the rest of society and had no prospect of rehabilitation.

It still remains unclear as to when exactly Cowan will be sentenced.

Justice Atkinson is reportedly considering whether or not she will allow cameras inside the courtroom to broadcast live when the final sentence is handed down. If allowed, it will be the first time camera’s have ever broadcast live from inside a Queensland court room.

VICTIMS IMPACT STATEMENT #4: Bradley Morcombe, Daniel’s twin brother, had his impact statement read to the court. Here is just some of what it had to say;

“Ten-and-a-half years since I lost my twin. I will never feel the same for the rest of my life. I will never forget the first night of your (Daniel’s) disappearance, in bed with mum and dad, that was the worst night imaginable. Returning to school was tough. I lost my way academically. I lacked concentration. My grades dropped. I have become very withdrawn. I had intentions to go to university and be a pilot, but that fell apart. I am not the person I could have been, I am constantly angry. Thanks to family support, I have held it together. I have a fiancee. Daniel can not be there at my wedding or be my best man. Cowan, your selfish actions have hurt me in ways no one can imagine.” – Bradley Morcombe.

VICTIMS IMPACT STATEMENT #3: Dean Morcombe, Daniel’s older brother, reads his own impact statement to the court. Here is just some of what he had to say;

“Brett Cowan, what you did has impacted hundreds of people. Daniel is my brother. You robbed him of a life he would loved to have lived. You robbed Bradley of his lifelong friend. You robbed my parents. You robbed us as a family. My life will never be the same again. You are a psychopath who cannot be rehabilitated. You’ve finally been exposed for the person you are.” – Dean Morcombe.

VICTIMS IMPACT STATEMENT #2: Denise Morcombe, Daniel’s mother, has had her impact statement read to the court by the prosecution. Here is just some of what it said;

“I still have nightmares. I see my son lying by himself in that dark eerie bushland being devoured by wild animals. He was an innocent boy. He was gentle and he loved animals. He wanted to be a VET. He would never hurt a soul. He was scared of the dark and would often sleep on the floor next to me. Mr Cowan, only you know how petrified he was … only you’d know Daniel’s look in his eyes as you chocked him. My life is not the same as ten years ago. It’s a different house, different job, different friends. My family has been destroyed. You took that away from us. I hope you have a life of loneliness. You are a perverted soul. I hope your jail time is difficult and you are never released.” – Denise Morcombe.

VICTIMS IMPACT STATEMENT #1: Bruce Morcombe, Daniel’s father, reads his own impact statement to the Supreme Court. Here is part of what he had to say;

“Ten years ago you (Cowan) made a choice that ripped our family apart. Your decision to abduct and kill Daniel has caused an extraordinary amount of pain over the years. I was physically ill each morning, wondering what happened to my darling son. Even today I am haunted by the thoughts, thinking about what you did to him at that shed. We now have to live out our days with the image of wild dogs tearing up our son. You picked on the wrong family. Our collective determination to find Daniel and expose a child killer was always going to win. Criminals like you can not be rehabilitated. I often wonder about the other victims that you have left in your wake, their moments of sadness too. – Bruce Morcombe.

2.30PM – COURT RESUMES: The Supreme Court has resumed and is hearing of Cowan’s lengthy and distressing criminal history for the first time before sentencing is handed down. 

Brett Peter Cowan was today found guilty of murdering 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe in 2003. He was also found guilty of indecent treatment of a child under the age of 16 and interference with a corpse.

Cowan’s shocking criminal history includes the sexual molestation of a seven-year-old boy in 1989 in which he was sentenced to two years jail for, and only served 14 months.

Shortly after he was released from prison, he was again convicted of a second savage rape attack on a six-year-old boy in 1993 who was left with horrific injuries.

His extensive shocking history spans across several states in Australia and also includes numerous break and enter, stealing and drug offences.

1.12PM – GUILTY VERDICT: Brett Peter Cowan, 44, has just been found guilty of abducting and murdering 13-year-old Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe more than ten years ago.

Cowan guilty

GUILTY: Brett Peter Cowan found guilty of abducting, assaulting and murdering 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe. IMAGE: Supplied

The jury delivered their verdict of guilty for all three counts of murder, indecent treatment of a child under the age of 16 and interference with a corpse in Brisbane’s Supreme Court around 1pm this afternoon.

Daniel Morcombe was abducted and killed on December 7, 2003 while waiting at a bus-stop on the Sunshine Coast. He was on his way to the mall to buy presents for Christmas.

Cowan initially pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Supreme Court has been adjourned and will return at 2.30pm this afternoon where Justice Roslyn Atkinson will hear sentencing submissions.

Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise, released a statement through their Facebook Page shortly after the verdict was delivered.

“Compelling Evidence has proven beyond reasonable doubt Cowan’s guilt,” it reads.

“Thanks largely to the Covert Police involved and SES searchers plus scientific experts, a child killer has been exposed.

“On behalf of our entire family we thank everyone who has contributed to finding the answers and especially for never forgetting Daniel.

“Please support Daniel’s legacy of Keeping Kids Safe through the initiatives of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation. Denise and Bruce x,” the statement concluded.

MORCOMBE FOUNDATIONFollowing the verdict announcement, it was revealed this wasn’t the first time Cowan had been convicted of such horrific crimes.

Cowan was previously sentenced to two years jail for the first time back in 1989 for indecently assaulting a seven-year-old Queensland boy.

He was then sentenced to a further seven years in 1994 for the 1993 abduction and savage rape of a six-year-old boy in Darwin.

Furthermore, Cowan has previously admitted to sexually abusing up to 30 children while he was a child himself.

It was also revealed that Cowan forced a girlfriend into a bizarre kidnap and rape role play years after killing Daniel.

1.00PM – BREAKING NEWS: The jury in the Daniel Morcombe murder trial have returned to the Supreme Court to deliver their verdict.

After more than seven hours of deliberation, the jury has reached a verdict on counts of murder, indecent treatment of a child, interfering with a corpse.

Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise, and his two brother’s, Dean and Bradley, have returned to the Supreme Court to hear the verdict.


Daniel Morcombe’s parents, Bruce and Denise, along with his two brothers returning to the Supreme Court for the verdict. PICTURE: Network Ten

The accused, 44-year-old Brett Peter Cowan, has also returned to his place in the court room.

More to come.