Friday, 14 November 2008

Teen gets 17 years for schoolgirl's murder

A teenager has been jailed for at least 17 years for stabbing a 15-year-old girl to death on her way home from school.

Tania Burgess was stabbed 48 times as she took a shortcut through the grounds of the Forresters Beach Resort on the New South Wales central coast in July 2005.

The Supreme Court trial had heard a possible motive was that Miss Burgess had rejected her killer's advances.

Her murderer cannot be named because he was 16 at the time of the attack.

During the trial, the court was told Miss Burgess gave a first name, high school name and grade that matched the teenager before she died.

It heard a witness, who helped the dying girl, saw a boy kneeling astride Miss Burgess as he stabbed her.

It was also told that DNA found on the clothes of the accused was the same as the victim's.

He had a cut on his hand and grazes on his knee, and his missing watch was found in a pool of blood at the scene.

The jury was told Miss Burgess' killer may have been waiting for her in the bushes.

The killer, who is now 19 years old, had admitted he was at the scene of the murder the night of the attack but maintained his innocence.

But a jury took just 90 minutes to find him guilty in March.

In handing down sentence, Justice Robert Hulme said his actions were so far out of the normal that something must have snapped.

In sentencing submissions in September, a forensic psychiatrist said the murderer had shown no signs of having a psychotic disorder since the stabbing.

The psychiatrist, Dr John Kasi-Nathan, told the court the boy had an anxiety disorder and some possible autistic traits.

Another psychiatrist, Dr Olav Nielssen, told the court that the boy probably carried out the attack while suffering a brief psychotic episode, but he said the killer had not developed a psychotic illness since the murder, despite expectations he would.

The teenager will be eligible for release in 2022.

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