Justice for Daniel as Brett Cowan is sentenced to life

BREAKING: Convicted child killer Brett Peter Cowan who was yesterday found guilty of murdering 13-year-old Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003 has just been sentenced to life in prison.

For murdering Daniel, Cowan was sentenced to life in prison, with a non-parole period of 20 years.

For indecently treating Daniel, Cowan was sentenced to three-and-a-half years.


For interfering with Daniel’s corpse, Cowan was sentenced to an additional two years in prison.

These sentences will be served concurrently with the life sentence.

“This is the end of the journey for justice for Daniel,” justice Atkinson said.

EARLIER: The Supreme Court resumed on Friday morning where justice Rosyln Atkinson rejected an application to let media broadcast sentencing live from the courtroom, despite being personally in favour of televising the judgement.

Court was briefly adjourned to wait for the Morcombe family to arrive for the sentencing, however the family chose not to be present during the sentencing of their boy’s murderer and court reconvened.

Moments before handing down her sentence, justice Atkinson addressed Cowan standing in his dock with a quiver in her voice, saying, “You knew, but he did not, that the bus had broken down. You saw an opportunity.”

“You were in your own words and opportunistic offender,” justice Atkinson said. “His (Daniel’s) body was disturbed and torn apart by animals. Everything you did to that child was horrific and disgraceful. Not just a murder but a terrible murder, it has had widespread and shocking impact.”

Justice Atkinson said she had seen no evidence in the months Cowan had been in court that he ever felt any remorse for what he did.

“You are a convincing and adaptable liar, you were prepared to lie to advantage yourself,” justice Atkinson said.

“Whenever anyone is considering the prospect of your rehabilitation, they should consider my words. You are a convincing liar.”

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

The 44-year-old father of three was found guilty of indecently dealing with Daniel, murdering him and interfering with his corpse after abducting him from a Sunshine Coast bus stop on December 7, 2003.

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 on Thursday afternoon, justice Atkinson reserved her sentencing.

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

They argued that Cowan should be jailed without parole for longer than the mandatory minimum of 15 years.

Cowan’s previous convictions were also tendered to the court for the first time during the submissions, including the rape of boys aged six and seven.

Cowan’s defence team argued he deserved a more lenient sentence because he didn’t intentionally kill Daniel.