Murder trial reveals torment behind model life

 

FROM the outside Maureen Boyce's life looked like a glamorous parade of parties, fashion, expensive champagne and first-class travel.

The former model and well-known socialite was frequently spotted dressed to the nines at the races and opulent parties, a glass of bubbly in hand and a wide smile on her face.

She lived in a $3.5 million waterfront penthouse, was married to a doting doctor, rubbed shoulders with the who's who of Queensland and counted the likes of jobs queen Sarina Russo among her closest friends.

The man who would eventually kill her told police that the first time he ever saw her was like seeing a "movie star stepping out of a car" - she was a woman who turned heads wherever she went.

But behind the glitz and glamour, Maureen's life was not all it seemed.

Maureen and Graham Boyce
Maureen and Graham Boyce

 

Maureen Boyce in party mode.
Maureen Boyce in party mode.

Maureen was 68 in October 2015 when she was murdered - stabbed to death in her bed by her scorned lover who flew into a fit of jealous rage after reading through messages from other men on her phone.

She had battled mental health issues for decades and had been diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder.

A doctor who gave evidence during Lang's murder trial last month said the conditions meant she would experience periods of both depression and mania and she had long held suicidal ideations.

Witnesses described how she had spoken about jumping from the 20th floor balcony of her Kangaroo Point apartment and was once caught stepping onto a chair pushed up against the railing.

But it wasn't only her mental health that was strained before her death.

Maureen Boyce during her modelling days in early 70s when she was known as Maureen Madden.
Maureen Boyce during her modelling days in early 70s when she was known as Maureen Madden.

Maureen's relationships with her husband Graham, her daughter Angelique and son Zachary were being tested over revelations there were "multiple men" in her life.

While her sick husband was away working in Cairns, her children expressed their disapproval at her rekindled relationship with Lang, who was staying with her in the ritzy Kangaroo Point apartment while visiting from New Zealand.

In a heart-wrenching testimony during Lang's trial, Angelique sobbed as she told the court she and her mother had not been speaking when she died, after a falling out over Maureen's relationship with Lang.

She said but for her mum's murder, their relationship would have been mended. The pair often squabbled before making up in typical mother-daughter fashion.

Maureen's death came amid what should have been a joyous year for the Boyce family.

Angelique had been married in May in what she described as an "amazing" day. The next month in June she learned she was expecting her first child due early in 2016 - Maureen was thrilled to learn she was to become a grandmother.

Graham, Angelique and Maureen Boyce.
Graham, Angelique and Maureen Boyce.

But her affair with Lang strained the relationship with Angelique who did not approve, and in a desperate bid to make her mum see sense wrote her a text message saying she no longer wanted anything to do with her, telling her to stay away from her family.

Likewise, Maureen's faithful husband was devastated at her betrayal and posted an angry message on her Facebook page when he learned she was travelling to New Zealand to see Lang.

It was the breakdown in these important relationships along with her disappointment that her apartment had failed to sell that Lang's defence argued pushed her over the edge to commit suicide.

But the jury saw through Lang's lies. After two days of deliberations, they unanimously found Lang had stabbed her to death in what Justice Ann Lyons described as a "vicious" attack".

 

Thomas Lang is led into the Dutton Park police station. Pic Darren England.
Thomas Lang is led into the Dutton Park police station. Pic Darren England.

The pair had first met 30 years earlier when Maureen was visiting the United States and started a whirlwind romance with Lang, also a doctor.

They had a brief fling before her mental health deteriorated and she was hospitalised before being brought home by her dutiful husband who prosecutor Todd Fuller said indulged his wife's "self-damaging" and "duplicitous" behaviour right up until her death.

Lang told police he was heartbroken when Maureen, who he described as the love of his life, left him to return to Australia three decades earlier.

It wasn't until 2013 when the pair rekindled their relationship that Lang learned that Maureen had been pregnant with his child when she left America and he had a son he'd never met.

Despite their tumultuous past, Lang told police on the day Maureen died that the pair had been smitten. They were in love and planned to be married before Christmas he claimed, despite her still being married to Dr Boyce.

Model Maureen Boyce during her modelling days in early 70s.
Model Maureen Boyce during her modelling days in early 70s.

 

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But Mr Fuller painted a much darker picture for the jury, saying the pair were highly suspicious and jealous, each suspecting the other was cheating.

On the night Maureen was killed, he said Lang had been "driven to the brink" when he went through her phone and realised she had been in touch with another man.

"Tom Lang had loved and lost back in the 80s and on the morning of the 22nd as he scrolled through those texts that (another man) had been sending to Maureen Boyce and that Maureen Boyce had been sending to (the other man), he saw that was what was going to happen again," Mr Fuller said.

"He stood there somewhere near that balcony with that phone in his hand watching all those things disappear. That's what drove him, that's what's caused him to leave the balcony we know what he's walked past - the kitchen where that knife has come out of the knife block, that short walk through the lounge room to where Maureen Boyce was lying in bed."

Maureen was found the next day with the 19cm blade still lodged in her abdomen. There was one entry point but three separate exit wounds as well as five "track wounds", an indication the blade had been repeatedly removed and reinserted.

Tom Lang in police custody after Maureen Boyce’s death. File picture
Tom Lang in police custody after Maureen Boyce’s death. File picture

Lang has always denied he killed "the love of his life" but this week's verdict marks the second time a 12-man jury unanimously found him guilty of murder.

He was first convicted of murder after a trial in 2017 but a retrial was ordered in December last year after the Court of Appeal found there was a "real possibility that irrelevant but misleading evidence was used to convict" him in the first trial.

As the verdict was read out, Lang spoke for the first time during the fortnight-long trial, saying "I didn't do it".

In sentencing Justice Lyons said it was likely Lang had stabbed the "defenceless" mum and wife while she slept.

"The circumstances surrounding her death is clearly a cause of great distress and continuing distress to her family," Justice Lyons said.

"They have been deprived of her vibrancy and her love.

"They clearly all miss her deeply, that was obvious in their evidence to the court. And it's the cause of great sadness that she did not get to meet her grandchildren."

Lang was sentenced to life in prison and will be 83 before he is eligible for parole.

Maureen Boyce.
Maureen Boyce.

 

Model Maureen Boyce during her modelling days.
Model Maureen Boyce during her modelling days.

Originally published as Murder trial reveals torment behind model life


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