Church organist guilty of mother manslaughter

A Victorian jury yesterday found a church music director and Australian Catholic University student not guilty of bashing his obsessive mother to death with a hammer but guilty of manslaughter.

The Age reports that Simon Alan Randall, 27, gasped, looked at the ceiling, then slumped in the Supreme Court dock weeping after being found guilty of manslaughter.

The ACU student had early pleaded not guilty to murdering 62-year-old widowed librarian Susan Randall in the kitchen of their Cheltenham, Victoria, home in September 2005.

Justice Simon Whelan remanded Randall for pre-sentence submissions today.

In his opening address, prosecutor Michael Tinney said Randall hit his defenceless mother repeatedly in the head with a claw hammer, then told emergency services he "snapped" after letting her know that he had stopped going to university.

Mr Tinney said Randall told police he had been deceiving his mother about attending the University and had argued with her about his weight gain.

"She was at the sink, she was making a sandwich or some such thing when ultimately she was struck, and she was heard to be muttering, 'pathetic, giving up on your future'," Mr Tinney said.

Ms Dixon said Randall relied on the defence of provocation to reduce the murder charge to manslaughter. The killing occurred before legal changes that now prevent the defence being used in Victoria.

Randall, who was recovering from testicular cancer while living with his mother, gave evidence that his mother told him when to go to bed, discouraged friends from visiting, controlled his diet, demanded telephone calls from him several times a day and, at one stage, edited his assignments.

He told the jury he was looking through a "red haze" when he bashed her, and that he had been unable to see a way of leaving home.

Tears in dock as man found guilty of killing mother (Son cleared of mother's murder (The Age, 14/2//07)
Killer son not guilty of murder (The Age, 14/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Supreme Court of Victoria

14 Feb 2007

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