'Thrill-kill teen too big a risk to free'
By Mark Oberhardt The Courier-Mail 18/10/2011
Cited as another example of a child eroding public order.

A TEENAGER who murdered a 15-year-old boy in a random thrill-killing at a shopping plaza committed such a heinous crime he should be detained for life, a judge found yesterday.

In the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Justice Ann Lyons said the teenager, now 18, had shown no remorse for his victim whom he stabbed to death in cold blood.

"The whole thing was completely meaningless ... you were just angry. I consider you very dangerous," Justice Lyons said.

She said the victim's family had been devastated and remained distressed. "I find this is a particularly heinous crime and it is in the worst category," she said.

She sentenced the teenager to life detention, which will be served in an adult jail after he turns 19 in January.

Justice Lyons refused an application for the teenager to be publicly identified because of possible impact on his family.

Prosecutor Brendan Campbell told the court the maximum sentence for murder by a juvenile was life but, unlike adults, it was not mandatory. However, he said, the killer was 16 years and 10 months old at the time of the murder and, under Queensland law, must be sentenced as a juvenile. Under new Queensland child-protection laws, the victim also cannot be identified.

Last December, the teen pleaded guilty to murdering the boy and unlawfully wounding David Phillips, 55, at Gympie on November 27, 2009. He later faced a Mental Health Court hearing where it was found that he was not of unsound mind and he had no defence of diminished responsibility.

The matter was then set down for yesterday to allow reports to be compiled. Mr Campbell said the dead boy was known as a "gentle soul" who was on his last day at James Nash High School in Gympie, about 200km north of Brisbane.

Mr Campbell said the killer was living with his grandparents after being placed on three years' probation for attempted sexual assaults on two younger boys. But the boy's mother had gone to see him because she had discovered he was stealing phone credit from his grandfather and also had some "inappropriate photographs" on his mobile phone.

Mr Campbell said there was an argument, the teen grabbed a bayonet and, despite his grand-father's attempts to stop him, he left the house. The court heard how he then went to a shopping mall and randomly stabbed the boy in the back, piercing his heart.

Mr Campbell said Mr Phillips and another man went to the injured boy's aid and, during the struggle, Mr Phillips was stabbed in the back. The two men and an off-duty security guard then overpowered the attacker and held him until police arrived.

Barrister Katarina Praskalo, for the teen, said her client had a mental illness which fell short of insanity but it had to be seen as reducing his culpability.