Victim’s husband traumatised by fatal attack footage

Rex Martinich |

Lovell family members were in court and watched security camera footage of the home invasion.
Lovell family members were in court and watched security camera footage of the home invasion.

The husband of a woman murdered during a home invasion says he found it challenging to watch the attack’s footage and listen to why the teen killer should get a lighter sentence.

The teenager faced Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday having earlier pleaded guilty to murder for the first hearing in a multi-day sentencing process.

The now 18-year-old and another teen were charged after Emma Lovell was fatally stabbed in her home north of Brisbane in 2022.

Police alleged the two boys, then 17 years old, broke into a North Lakes house and attacked Mrs Lovell and her husband Lee about 11.30pm on Boxing Day.

The mother-of-two died after being stabbed in the chest while Mr Lovell was treated in hospital for a knife wound.

Mr Lovell spoke outside court after Justice Tom Sullivan heard from the prosecution and defence on what sentence he should impose.

“I didn’t really want to look at (the teen) too much. Initially I wasn’t going to read out a victim impact statement either but I felt I owed it to Emma to do that,” he said. 

Mr Lovell said he had not seen the security footage before Friday’s sentencing.

Lee Lovell, husband of victim Emma Lovell, talks to the media
Mr Lovell said it was traumatising seeing the footage of him fighting the teens. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

“It was quite hard seeing myself fighting with the guys coming out of the house. That was traumatising,” he said. 

Justice Sullivan heard that he could sentence the teen to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment or 14 years if he found the crime to be “particularly heinous”.

Mr Lovell told the court he was trying the best he could to raise his children after losing his wife of 22 years.

“I feel so lost without her … It was so difficult returning home. My daughter feared they would come back.”

Mr Lovell said his family faced a life sentence while the person who murdered his wife would not.

Crown prosecutor David Nardone said the teen stabbed Mrs Lovell with such force the knife blade snapped.

“He has broken into premises or homes on 16 occasions … this was his first time entering a home armed and he knew the risks … he elevated the risk of harm,” Mr Nardone said.

Security footage was played showing the teen testing the front door and finding it unlocked before entering ahead of his accomplice.

The teen soon after engaged in a physical altercation with Mr and Mrs Lovell while holding a knife.

Another camera showed the teens running down the street while the Lovells collapsed in their driveway.

Lee Lovell's daughters Kassie (left) and Scarlett (right)
Kassie (left) and Scarlett Lovell were also sleeping in the house when the teens broke in. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

The Lovell family left the court while graphic audio of the home invasion was played.

The couple’s two teenage children, Kassie and Scarlett, were also sleeping in the house when the co-offenders broke in.

A barking dog alerted the couple and they tried to push the two intruders out of the house.

The teen stabbed Mrs Lovell in the heart and Mr Lovell in the back, before kicking him several times in the head.

Defence barrister Scott Lynch said the teen grew up in a chaotic environment, exposed to domestic violence and finding his only close friend dead after he took his own life.

“He only ever felt reasonable or himself after having consumed alcohol, inhaled glue or inhaled cannabis,” Mr Lynch said.

Justice Sullivan asked why the teen’s premeditated decision to enter a home with a knife in hand while knowing people were likely inside would not cause ordinary members of the community to feel outrage. 

“His intention was to commit a break and enter, albeit armed. It was not an intention to kill. The knife was used in the context of a struggle,” Mr Lynch said.

Justice Sullivan said he would reserve his sentencing decision until a date to be fixed next week.

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