Bribie man, 71, guilty of killing wife with claw hammer

A JURY has found a Bribie Island pensioner guilty of murdering his wife of 26 years with a claw hammer.

Anthony John Phillips, 71, showed no emotion as the jury in his Supreme Court trial  convicted him of killing wife Joan Phillips in 2011.

Police found Mrs Phillips' bloodied and battered body on the floor of the couple's Bongaree home on June 20, 2011.

The trial heard the couple were in a struggle a day before, after Mrs Phillips accused her husband of being lazy.

Phillips told police he grabbed a claw hammer from his wife and hit her in the head two or three times.

In sentencing Phillips on Monday, Justice Ann Lyons said there was evidence Mrs Phillips survived the initial attack by a number of hours.

She said there was evidence after Phillips inflicted the first terrible injuries he carried out more and also smothered his wife.

Phillips failed to seek assistance for his wife, tried to clean up the evidence, and then wrote notes for family members and took multiple sleeping tablets, the court heard.

In a victim impact statement Justice Lyons read out, Mrs Phillips family  stated they were shocked beyond belief to hear what Phillips did to their mother.

Justice Lyons said the family thought Phillips would look after their mother like she had for him.

The court heard the couple had no long-standing animosity and had lived happily together.

In a letter tendered to the court, Phillips stated his behaviour was out of character and expressed deep remorse.

"You say I hope any penalty will allow your wife's family and friends some closure and allow them to move on with their life in some ways," Justice Lyons stated.

Justice Lyons told Phillips, who stood in the dock with his head down, he had killed someone he loved and who was loved deeply by her family.

She said the family had to sit though his trial and see photographs of Mrs Phillips' frail and battered body in detail.

"Joan's family will have to live with these traumatic memories for the rest of their lives," she said.
Phillips was sentenced to life in jail.

"Given your age it's clear you will spend most if not all of your life in jail," Justice Lyons said.

Family members sobbed in the public gallery as the verdict was handed down and thanked jury members as they left.

Outside of court, the family said they were happy with the verdict.

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