MURDERER Brett Peter Cowan was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum 20-year non-parole period, for the horrific death of Daniel Morcombe.

Justice Roslyn Atkinson described Cowan as a monster and a paedophile who lured Daniel to his death.

The justice also warned about calls for harsher penalties against child sex offenders, saying they could lead to offenders being more likely to kill their victims.

Justice Aktinson told Cowan to stand up, saying his account of what had happened was in 'chilling detail'.

She told the 44-year-old father he had no intention of taking Daniel to the local shopping centre when he picked him up.

"You did not look like a monster. You did not look like a paedophile," she said.

"You looked like an ordinary person.''

Justice Atkinson said Cowan he killed Daniel after taking him to bushland at Glass House Mountains because he did not want to be identified.

"You killed him because you didn't want to get caught,' she said.'

Justice Atkinson said Cowan returned a week later and then disgracefully interfered with Daniel's body.

"This is not just a murder but a terrible murder," she said.

Justice Atkinson told the judge she did not believe Cowan ever showed remorse.

She said the abduction of a child in broad daylight was very unusual.

But the justice said it had put fear into the heart of the community, particularly that vulnerable children "might be taken by a predator like you and dealt with in this way".

"The reaction to this case over many years since it happened has shown the fear and revulsion caused towards ordinary members of the community caused by your behaviour," he said.

"These are chilling and disgraceful crimes."

Justice Atkinson outlined Cowan's criminal history and said any consideration of his future release would have to be considered in that light.

"You have tragically and pointlessly snuffed out a young life," she said.

"Another insight into your personality comes from your demeanour after you've told Arnold what you did.

"You appeared very happy with yourself and unconcerned about the enormity of the crime you had just committed.

"You expressed your confidence about not being prosecuted because you couldn't be pinned for it.

"While you were saying that, you were saying that while being tape recorded and video recorded, which just shows you weren't quite as smart as you thought you were."

The justice told the court the goal of sentencing was to punish, to deter other people, and to protect the Queensland community from offenders.

She said she had to punish him to deter other for such crimes.

"For the offence of murder the only sentence is life imprisonment.''

Justice Atkinson said the minimum time for Cowan's release was 20 years but it was up to parole authorities to determine his release, based on her comments.

"Whenever anyone is considering the prospect of granting you parole many years in the future they should mark my words that you are a convincing liar … and prepared to lie to advance your own interests," she said.

Cowan was sentenced to three and a half years for indecently dealing with Daniel and two years for interfering with his remains, to be served concurrently with the main sentence.

Justice Atkinson made it clear Cowan should not be automatically released after 20 years.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said she would like to have seen a tougher sentence.

She said life should mean life.

"I would like to see 50 years, 100 years, never let him out.''








Cowan was found guilty of three charges on Thursday.

Justice Atkinson earlier ruled against a media application to televise her judgment.

She said the court had already given access to the media to a wide range of evidence, including the confession of Cowan.

The judge said it would be unusual to allow an application which prosecution and defence had opposed.

The Morcombes had also opposed the media's application.

The court was earlier today adjourned to allow the Morcombes to be present for the sentencing.

APN understands the Morcombes were not in the immediate vicinity of the courthouse as they were expecting sentencing later today.

They advised the court they did not want to be present for the sentence.

The justice returned to the courtroom just before 11.45am to begin sentencing.

She consented to Cowan's history being published, except for medical records, and details around Cowan's children.

Earlier, the justice said she would consider the prosecution's submission to sentence Brett Peter Cowan to more than the minimum 15-year parole eligibility that came with a life sentence in 2003 when the crime occurred.

Campbell Newman expresses support for Morcombes

Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has added his thoughts on the Morcombe case, saying: "The long nightmare that has confronted the Morcombe family is almost over."

"My heart goes out to them,'' he said from the US.

"I think all Queenslanders reach out to them.

"They have been through so much.'

"I want to thank the jurors, the justice system.

"The system has worked."

Mr Newman also praised the work of the Queensland Police Service.

"I congratulate them on behalf of all Queenslanders on a job well done," he said.

"I thank the Morcombes for their calmness, dignity and grace under all trials and tribulations of the last few years.

"They have been such an inspiration.

"They have just done amazing things... in terms of educating our kids and protecting them against such predators.

Asked whether police should be given awards for their work, Mr Newman said it would be up to the police service to hand out honours.

But he said: "Just getting this result... having the satisfaction of getting these predators, is reward enough in itself.''

Mr Newman was asked whether Queensland's laws were tough enough on child sex offenders.

"I believe we have put in place some very tough laws

"I hope they never have to be used.''

Judge praises strength of Morcombe family

Earlier, Justice Atkinson told the Morcombe family: "There's nothing I can say to assuage the hurt and pain that you felt… that's each of you individually and your family.''

"But your strength and the way in which you have conducted yourselves has been one of the main factors that brought us to this outcome today.''

Justice Atkinson also praised the police for their determination, and particularly the covert officers involved in the sting against Cowan.

She said Daniel's case sent not only a message to Cowan but anyone who committed a terrible crime against a child who thought they could get away with it.

The Morcombes made a brief statement to the media after Cowan was found guilty, thanking everyone who had helped them to find Daniel and lead his killer to justice.

"We have to thank certainly all the covert police officers, and the SES searchers, the scientific experts,'' Bruce Morcombe said.

"They've all contributed to making sure that a sex offender, a murderous sex offender, was caught and exposed for his actions."

When asked how they were feeling, the Morcombes did not respond. Instead, Mrs Morcombe continued with a prepared statement.

"On behalf of our entire family we would like to thank everybody for assisting us in the search for Daniel and for never forgetting Daniel - all the media, all the SES, all the police, all the public, the whole community," she said

"Thanks very much to everyone and Daniel's legacy will continue with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation keeping kids safe.

"Thanks guys, and it's a good result."


Jury delivers guilty verdicts

Cowan is expected to be sentenced to life behind bars after the jury found him guilty of murdering Daniel Morcombe.

The six men and six women tasked with deciding his fate filed into Brisbane Supreme Court shortly after 1pm on Thursday to deliver their verdict.

"Do you find the accused Brett Peter Cowan, also known as Shaddo N-unyah Hunter, guilty or not guilty of murder?"Justice Roslyn Atkinson's associate asked the 12 jurors.

"Guilty," they replied.

"So says your speaker, so say you all?" she asked.

They all agreed.

Cowan, 44, was also convicted of indecently dealing with Daniel when he pulled down his pants with intention to molest him and interfering with Daniel's corpse when he dumped it in dense bushland at Glasshouse Mountains a few minutes later.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe and Daniel's brothers Dean and Bradley were overcome with emotion as the verdicts were delivered.

The whole family was dressed in red with Denise wearing a red jacket, Bruce a Maroon shirt, and the boys red ties as the day they have waited for so long finally arrived.

A cry of 'Yes' could be heard coming from the family's supporters.

Bruce Morcombe put a steadying hand on Denise, while friends offered her tissues. Denise grabbed her son's hands as the family marked the moment.

The Morcombes hugged Crown prosecutors and Sunshine Coast detectives involved in the case, including Ross Hutton and Graham Farlow.

On the Daniel Morcombe Foundation's Facebook page, the Morcombes issued a brief statement immediately after the verdict.

"Compelling evidence has proven beyond reasonable doubt Cowan's guilt,'' Bruce and Denise wrote.

"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."

Cowan twice convicted of child sex offences

APN Newsdesk can reveal for the first time that Cowan has twice been convicted of child sex offences in Darwin and Brisbane.

He was sentenced to two years jail in 1989 for taking a seven-year-old boy into the toilets and molesting him in Brisbane while he was carrying out community service.

Four years later, Cowan found a new victim in a caravan park in 1993 when a young six-year-old boy asked him if he had seen his sister.

Cowan led the boy into the bush and brutally molested him before leaving him to die.

The youngster was found that evening when he stumbled out of bushland naked and covered in dirt, cuts and bruises.

Cowan served about four-and-a-half years out of his seven-year sentence for that offence.

The verdict in the Daniel Morcombe case means the jurors believed confessions Cowan made to undercover police in Western Australia were true.

Cowan had tried to argue it was a false confession, that he felt pressured into making up a story so that he could have an alibi bought.

He claimed he feared losing a $100,000 pay packet, and potentially millions of dollars for future jobs, and was worried he would lose his new mates - all he had ever dreamed of.

Undercover police created the illusion of a powerful Australia-wide crime network that Cowan desperately wanted to be a part of.

Things began to unravel when a pretend corrupt police officer told Cowan Queensland State Coroner had issued a subpoena to recall him to the inquest into Daniel's disappearance.


Having been told for months how important loyalty, trust and honesty were to his keeping his new crime gang friends safe, Cowan feared his links to the Sunshine Coast case could interfere with his new world.

While he initially denied having anything to do with the case, Cowan took about 10 minutes to change his mind and tell "big boss" Arnold how he had abducted and killed Daniel.

There is a possibility Cowan will take his convictions to the Queensland Court of Appeal, especially in light of two mistrial applications, details of which have been suppressed until now.

One related to a Courier-Mail front page during the trial which Cowan's defence team argued was prejudicial and prevented him having a fair hearing.

The other relates to a note suggesting no one could rest until Cowan was found guilty at Daniel's memorial site which jurors could have seen when doing a site visit.

The conviction, pending appeal, closes a long chapter for the Morcombe family and for Queensland.

The police investigation to find Daniel Morcombe was the biggest in Queensland's history.

It took seven and a half years to find Daniel's body and 11 years to bring someone to justice.

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