A judge has lashed a woman for displaying “deep-seated psychopathy” when she plotted her ex-partner’s grisly murder in an industrial woodchipper.
Cheers and shouts erupted from the courtroom after Sharon Graham was found guilty of murdering Bruce Saunders in an “almost Shakespearean” plot in November 2017.
A man in the public gallery called Graham a “filthy animal” as she was led away to the cells.
In jailing Graham for life, Supreme Court Justice Martin Burns said the 63-year-old regarded Bruce as an “inconvenience, but worse than that a source of money to secure your future”.
“There are no words for the likes of you,” he said.
“Even if there were, I do not wish to detract in any way from the statements … which have eloquently described the real horror of what you did, and the profound impact it has had, and will continue to have.
“By my observations you have displayed the hallmarks of deep-seated psychopathy.
“If at any point the authorities seriously consider your release, I ask they keep that observation firmly in mind.”
Mr Saunders’ son, Blake, wiped tears and sobbed after the jury handed down their verdict on Friday.
In a heartbreaking victim impact statement, he revealed Graham had requested she be able to keep half of his father’s ashes following the funeral.
“This (was) all part of your evil plan to make it look like you were grieving … but really it was you trying to hide your guilt,” Blake said in his statement.
Graham, 63, had pleaded not guilty to Bruce Saunders’ murder after he was fed to the woodchipper while clearing trees at a property in Goomboorian, near Gympie, on November 12, 2017.
A jury took less than a day to return their guilty verdict.
Throughout the trial, the jury was told Ms Graham procured Mr Roser to kill Mr Saunders by hitting him in the head with a metal bar, then feeding his body into the machine with the help of Mr Koenig.
All that remained of Mr Saunders was his legs, up to his thighs.
The court was told Mr Saunders was “worth more dead than alive” to Ms Graham as she was named the sole beneficiary of his will, including his car, house and savings.
She also stood to gain a $750,000 payout from his life insurance policy.
Graham showed no emotion as the verdict was handed down by the jury on Friday, while screams erupted from members of Mr Saunders’ family.
Ms Graham had been romantically involved with all three men at different points, at the time dating Mr Roser.
In his victim impact statement, Blake described his dad Bruce as a “loving, kind, gentle and hardworking” man who always supported him.
The court was told Mr Saunders’ wife died to breast cancer.
Blake described waking to a text from Graham on the day of his father’s death, informing him something “terrible had happened” to his father.
He described how devastated he was losing his father and spoke of the profound grief he felt.
The court was told Graham even sat beside him in the front row at Bruce’s funeral, pretending to cry.
“Then I offered my arm to you in an act of support,” he said.
“Little did I know then you planned, orchestrated and covered up my father’s murder. Consoling you at that distressing time will haunt me for the rest of my life.
“Then you requested my dad’s ashes be split in half so you could keep half of them.”
In his statement, Blake said Graham took advantage of a “lonely, grieving man” who would have helped anyone.
“You are a despicable human,” he told Graham.
“I love my dad and I miss him so much. I’ll never be able to hug him, or hear his laugh, or see his big smile.
“You took the last, most important part of my life.”
Other statements were tendered by Bruce’s brother, Colin, and Sharon Beighton, the owner of the property where Mr Saunders was murdered.
She spoke of how she defended Graham from everyone who initially accused her of murder, questioning how she could kill Bruce when all he wanted to do was look after her.
“You didn’t deserve him, he was too good for you,” Ms Beighton’s statement read.
“Where are your friends now Sharon? They have all gone.”
During the trial, Mr Koenig gave evidence he was repeatedly asked by Ms Graham to kill Mr Saunders on earlier dates while the trio were clearing the property.
He said on the date of Mr Saunders’ death he grabbed the 54-year-old’s arms after Mr Roser “clubbed” him, helping feed him to the woodchipper.
Peter Richards, Ms Graham’s defence barrister, submitted his client did not procure Mr Roser to commit the murder and maintained she believed it was an accident.