‘We’re now without mum for life’: Family’s grief over murder
THE son of a Townsville woman brutally murdered in her own home gave an emotional address on the day his mother's killer was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Deeragun grandmother Rosemary Russo, 59, was murdered by James Ray Samuel Mabo, 22, who repeatedly struck her face with a piece of timber, causing her to drown in her own blood on December 8, 2016.
Mabo was found guilty on Tuesday.
Surrounded by family, Ms Russo's son Lourence Russo tearfully told media outside of court his family faced their own life sentence without her.
"It's hard to say how much we're going to miss our mother, mother-in-law, a partner, a grandmother," he said.
"It is an unimaginable burden which I hope no one in the community would ever have to endure or be put through, but I thank the community for all the support that they've shown the family.
"We're at a loss, and I'm sure the community must feel the same. The events of this past week have outlined what's happened and how it's happened and still we're at a loss to come to terms with it all.
"We're now without mum for life."
Mr Russo also thanked neighbours, paramedics, police and the prosecution.
"It fills our hearts with compassion at the efforts of the neighbours, paramedics and the way that they've attended to mum prior to her death in those last moments," he said.
The police who conducted those investigations so thoroughly and so swiftly and in the manner of which they kept us informed of the going on … the DPP and all their efforts."
Crown Prosecutor Andrew Walklate read out victim impact statements on behalf on Mr Russo's family and partner in court.
When sentencing Mabo in Townsville Supreme Court alongside other offences he committed prior to the murder, Justice David North labelled the young man "heartless" and said he had a "scant regard" for the law and court orders.
"The killing was brutal and heartless, it was executed in a frightening way," Justice North said.
"You kicked your way into the house, when confronted by the victim you repeatedly struck her across the face with force sufficient to break bones and cause bleeding.
"To cause her to down in her own blood."
Mabo's 1091 days spent in pre-sentence custody was declared as time already served. He will be released in 2036 at the age of 39.
He showed no emotion as he was sentenced and left the courtroom.
Mabo who was 19 at the time of the offence, pleaded not guilty for Ms Russo's murder, but instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
The plea was rejected by the Crown.
During the trial, the court was shown a picture of her bloodied, swollen face, which was left with a "caved in" nose, fractured bones, loosened teeth and lacerations all over.
Professor David Williams, who performed an autopsy, concluded Ms Russo died from "repeated severe blows" that had caused blood to be inhaled into her airways, and she essentially "drowned in her own blood".