You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Qld couple's murder of mum sadistic: judge

AAP logoAAP 21/10/2016 Melissa Grant

A Queensland couple have each been given life in prison for the sadistic torture and murder of mother-of-four Tia Landers.

Drug supplier John Edward Harris and his partner Linda Eileen Appleton were sentenced in Brisbane's Supreme Court on Friday after pleading guilty to murdering Ms Landers in a brutal and bloody encounter at their Brighton home in June 2014.

Harris will have to spend at least 27 years behind bars before being eligible for parole, while Appleton must serve at least 23 years.

Justice Jean Dalton ordered their parole eligibility to be set beyond the statutory 20-year minimum for the "sadistic" killing, where Ms Landers was cut with a machete, bashed, kicked, stomped, and then twice shot in the head.

"The offending involved a protracted, sadistic and brutal torturing of Ms Landers over a period of hours," Justice Dalton said.

The motivation for the killing, she said, stemmed from Appleton's suspicion Ms Landers was having an affair with Harris, and stealing her clothes and jewellery.

Justice Dalton said Appleton was so obsessed with the idea of revenge that she began plotting it from inside jail seven days before Ms Landers' killing.

A letter of apology from the 43-year-old was given to the Landers family on Friday, but Justice Dalton said she had great difficulty reconciling it with the evidence.

Appleton and 44-year-old Harris, who at one point held hands in the dock during sentencing, initially pleaded not guilty to the murder but reversed their pleas after five days of evidence in their trial.

It followed guilty pleas to interfering with her corpse and depriving the liberty of two men, Jake McKenzie and Ryan Morgan.

During the trial, Mr McKenzie told the court a fight had escalated at the couple's home after Appleton slashed open Ms Landers' leg with a machete.

Harris eventually retrieved a gun and shot her in the head, but she was "still alive enough to say no" before being fired on a second time.

During sentencing, the court heard Harris had previously been jailed for manslaughter in a case with striking similarities to Ms Landers' murder.

In that case, the victim's body was also wrapped up and dumped in the Beerburrum forest.

In a powerful victim impact statement read out in court, Ms Landers' mother Mary said it was difficult to convey how the brutal crime had affected her life.

"There are no words adequate to describe the pain, anger and despair that I have felt from her murder," she wrote.

"I have lost my faith and trust in people. I have trouble finding joy in the simple pleasures of life."

Outside court, Haley Matthews said no sentence for her cousin's brutal killing would be enough for her family.

"While Harris and Appleton were handed life sentences ... this in our opinion is not justice," she said.

"The only people who have received life sentences today are those who loved Tia, especially her children."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon