Man found guilty of stabbing manslaughter of cousin

BREAKING: John Henry Brown, 33, has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of his cousin Caroline Widgell, 28, in Toowoomba in July 2013.

Brown will be sentenced tomorrow morning.

EARLIER: Murder accused John Henry Brown's defence counsel has invited the jury in his murder trial to return a verdict of manslaughter.

 Brown, 33, has pleaded not guilty to murder arising from the death of his cousin Caroline Widgell, 28, who was stabbed in the chest at a Seppelt St address in Wilsonton Heights just after 9pm, July 4, 2013.  

In his closing address today, defence barrister Robbie Davies told the jury it was not in dispute that his client had caused Ms Widgell's wound.  

What was at issue was whether he intended to kill his cousin.  

Mr Davies said if there was any rational hypothesis consistent with innocence, the jury must acquit his client of murder.  

"What he is guilty of, ladies and gentlemen, is manslaughter," Mr Davies submitted to the jury.  

Crown prosecutor Mark Whitbread argued that by the evidence put before the trial John Brown had intended to kill Ms Widgell or at least cause her grievous bodily harm.  

Brown had been staying nearby at a Lindemann Crt home of his cousin and had arrived on foot at the Seppelt St residence and went straight to the back yard where Ms Widgell and others were gathered.  

After calling her away to the front yard where the pair was alone, he had stabbed her "one quick and sudden blow to the chest", Mr Whitbread said, submitted what other intention had he had but death.  

Ms Widgell had turned away and walked back to the house, telling her cousin, "John stabbed me, Cuz".  

At the close of the Crown case this morning, Mr Davies made a defence admission that a steak knife found in the front yard soon after the incident had blood on its blade that was DNA matched to Ms Widgell.  

Mr Whitbread submitted similar steak knives were found in the kitchen drawer at Lindemann Crt where Brown had been staying, suggesting he had taken the knife to the Seppelt St address, also suggesting intent.  

Brown had left the scene after the incident and was found later that night in Wine Drive Park not far away, he said.

 When challenged by police, Brown had immediately fallen to his knees and put his hands behind his head, telling police "Just put me in jail", Mr Whitbread submitted.  

During a subsequent police interview, Brown had told a detective "I killed my cousin, does that mean anything", he said.  

Forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Milne who conducted the autopsy told the court Ms Widgell had a wound 4.3cm left of the middle of the chest which was 16mm in length by 7mm in width.  

He estimated the depth of the stabbing wound to be about 7cm between the third and forth rib.  

He estimated the degree of force to cause such a wound to be "as little as mild".  

The jury will retire to consider a verdict after summing up of the case by Justice Peter Lyons.  

EARLIER: A jury charged with determining whether a Wilsonton Heights man murdered his cousin more than three years ago is expected to begin verdict deliberations this afternoon.

The Crown has closed its case against John Henry Brown who has pleaded not guilty to murdering his cousin, Caroline Widgell, in Wilsonton Heights in 2013.

The jury will hear closing addresses from the Crown and Brown's defence counsel which were expected to begin about 11.30am.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict this afternoon.

The trial, before Justice Peter Lyons, began on Monday.

Topics:  court editors picks murder toowoomba toowoomba court

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Walk-in mine a gem

UP FOR AWARD: The Miners Heritage Walk-In Mine tour.

The Miners Heritage Walk-In Mine is competing for a tourism award

New store opened in Clermont

KENNEDY & GRACE: Store owner Chloe Hodgkinson with her children in the new shop in Clermont.

Clermont is home to the newly re-opened Kennedy & Grace.

Girls night out in memory of Kim-Marie Brown

SUPPORT: Grace Ferguson with her parents Kyle and Kim, at the day for diabetes held in Dingo at the weekend.
Photo Meghan Kidd / CQ News

Girls Night Out in memory of Kim-Marie Brown.

Local Partners

Plenty of things to do in the region in the coming week

From dance productions to bargain hunting - here's plenty to do in the region in this week and next

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Peter Pan comes to Emerald

Peter Pan comes to the Central Highlands.

Peter Pan flies in to the Central Highlands this month

A little mystery adds fun to this event

SOIREE: Executive committee member, Rach McDowall.

Enjoy a mysterious night out at the Shed Soiree.

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track