Stephanie Scott's killer sentenced for murder of teacher

JOURNALIST Alexia Purcell is reporting live from the Griffith Supreme Court on the sentencing of Vincent Stanford, the man convicted of murdering and sexually assaulting Leeton High School teacher Stephanie Scott.

Note: all times are in AEST

10AM: Stephanie Scott's parents Bob and Merrilyn, flanked by supporters, have spoken to waiting media outside the Griffith Supreme Court, following the sentence of their daughter's killer to life in prison.

"The past 18 months have been most difficult and harrowing time. So much has been taken away from us," Mrs Scott said.

"Stephanie has had everything taken away from her.

"Losing her has shattered so much lives and we are all struggling with the consequences.

"We have had to show restraint in all we have said and done and have to grieve in the public eye."

Mrs Scott then thanked police, prosecutors, and supporters before again reminding the public of what they lost when her daughter's life was extinguished.

Stephanie embodied all that is good about human kind. She made a tangible difference to the lives of so many people. Stephanie would want us to resume our lives.

We need to be kind to ourselves and let the music and fun back in. We need to be able to fade from public view, to mourn our beautiful girl and work our way through our grief.

We will not be answering any questions, participating in any interviews or any programs in the future.

Tomorrow we begin to celebrate Stephanie's too short, amazing life.

This should be her 28th birthday, the second one we celebrate without her. We will be having a cup of tea and a mint slice biscuit at 3. Please join us. Thank you.

 

 

9.50AM: Judge Hulme's final sentencing remarks, after describing Stephanie Scott's convicted killer Vincent Stanford as a "disturbing individual. This is the moment her killer is sent to prison. Tomorrow would have been Ms Scott's 28th birthday.

For the aggravated sexual assault on the murder of Stephanie Claire Scott you are convicted.

Both of the sentences I impose will take effect from April 8, 2015.

For the aggravated sexual assault, you are sentenced to imprisonment for 15 years. I decline to nominate a proportion of that sentence as a non-parole period as there is no utility in doing so.

For the murder of Stephanie Scott, you are sentenced to imprisonment for life. 

 

Stephanie Scott
Stephanie Scott Facebook

 

 

9.45AM: Judge Hulme said he has a "grave concern" that the court has not yet heard the entire truth, and that this "was not a random attack".

Judge Hulme describes Stanford's behaviour after the attack has "highly disturbing".

The judge is questioning why Stanford would have removed Ms Scott's clothes before burning her because her clothes would not burn.

"Why he removed her clothes and washed her body remains only known to him," Judge Hulme said.

Judge Hulme touches on the fact Stanford returned to the scene to photograph Ms Scott's burned remains, an act he describes as "despicable".

 

Griffith Supreme Court this morning
Griffith Supreme Court this morning

9.27AM: The Crown has submitted a request for life imprisonment for Stanford.

Stanford was 24 when he killed Ms Scott, but Judge Hulme concedes life sentences have been applied to younger offenders.

Stanford's lawyer meanwhile Janet Manuell has asked the judge for leniency on behalf of her client, and for him to take into account Stanford's mental health, age, and the fact he admitted to the crime.

 

9.15AM: The court has heard how Vincent Stanford said he had no prior plan to kill Ms Scott.

Justice Robert Hulme said he told police that when he saw her he just "had to kill her".

He said it was an instant thought and not unusual for him to have such thoughts.

Justice Robert Hulme said Stanford said he believes that he cannot learn to tolerate people. That there is nothing he can do.

When asked about the rape and murder of Ms Scott, Mr Stanford said he hardly thinks about it at all and can't remember it.

He said he didn't entertain the urge to kill anyone after killing Ms Scott but then the thoughts returned.

Asked if he felt guilt for his actions Justice Robert Hulme said Stanford said: "No this is something I had to do, I couldn't help myself.

"I'm different to other people, I don't think there is any treatments for my inability to live with other people."

 

9.10AM: Justice Robert Hulme has expressed his deepest sympathy to Ms Scott's family, friends and the Leeton community.

 

8.45AM: A packed courtroom is listening to Justice Robert Hulme read a timeline of events while Vincent Stanford sits in the dock with his head down.

 

8.27AM: Stephanie Scott's family has arrived at the Supreme Court in Griffith, ahead of the sentencing of Vincent Stanford for the rape and murder of Ms Scott.

Media, supporters and others have been forced to wait as the courtroom gallery overflows.

Court staff have directed media to sit in the jury box of the packed room.

 

EARLIER: VINCENT Stanford will be sentenced on Thursday morning for the rape and murder of Leeton High School teacher, Stephanie Scott.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court in Griffith heard how the then 24-year-old Stanford punched Scott unconscious, sexually assaulted her and stabbed her in the neck in a store room at Leeton High School, The Area News reports.

In April last year, Scott went missing days before her wedding.

The 26-year-old's burnt body was found about five days later in Cocoparra National Park about 70km north of Leeton.

In July, Stanford, a cleaner at Leeton High School pleaded guilty to murdering Miss Scott.

Six weeks earlier, Stanford's twin brother Marcus pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murder.

Marcus Stanford was sentenced to one year and three months in jail for being an accessory after the fact to the murder but released on September 9.

Updates to come.


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