Emma Lovell: Teenage burglar who stabbed British mother to death in Australia is jailed

A teenager who stabbed a British mother to death in Australia after breaking into her home has been jailed for 14 years.

Emma Lovell was killed in North Lakes, Queensland, on Boxing Day in 2022 while fending off two intruders.

The 41-year-old mother of two died of a single stab wound to the heart.

She had emigrated to Australia from Ipswich in 2011 with her husband Lee, who survived the attack, along with their daughters.

The teenage attacker, who was 17 at the time and cannot be named for legal reasons, had previously pleaded guilty to her murder.

Sentencing the now 19-year-old at Brisbane's Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Tom Sullivan told him he had committed a "particularly heinous offence" after breaking into the property armed with a knife alongside another boy.

The judge described Mrs Lovell as "an energetic and beloved mother, wife, daughter and sister".

He said: "The Lovells were ordinary citizens enjoying their family life in their home where they were entitled to feel safe.

"What occurred on that Boxing Day evening violated that entirely."

The teenager had also pleaded guilty to burglary, malicious acts with intent and assault occasioning bodily harm over an attack on Mr Lovell.

The court heard the Lovells had attempted to fend off the intruders after they had been woken by their dogs barking at about 11.30pm.

Mr Lovell was injured during a "physical struggle directly outside the front door" which then moved to the front lawn, where his wife was fatally stabbed.

The court heard the teenager had been convicted of 84 offences in the past, including 16 involving unlawful entry or attempted entry of properties, but none had been violent.

He had turned to alcohol and drugs after the death of his grandmother when he was 14, the court heard.

The judge said he had taken into account the teenager's childhood of "deprivation" but also had to consider "the seriousness of the offending".

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The second teenager charged with Mrs Lovell's murder is yet to enter any pleas.

The killing prompted outrage across Queensland and was one of many high-profile crimes that saw the state introduce stricter youth crime laws last year.

It is now a criminal offence in Queensland if a child breaches bail conditions, while children as young as 15 can be fitted with GPS trackers.

The courts now also have the authority to declare youths as serious repeat offenders in certain circumstances.