‘My daughter’s life was worth more than 20 years’
THE father of slain schoolgirl Jayde Kendall has spoken of his family's heartbreak more than two years after her death - less than an hour after her killer lost an appeal to have his murder conviction overturned.
Queensland's Court of Appeal today quashed the bid from Brenden Bennetts, who applied to have his murder conviction overturned.
Bennetts was found guilty of murdering Jayde in August 2015 before dumping her body in a remote field.
Her body was found on August 26, 2015, less than two weeks after she was reported missing.
In his appeal, Bennetts' lawyer Michael Copley claimed the judge allowed illegally obtained evidence to be shown at the murder trial and heard by the jury.
Bennetts' appeal hinged on an argument that the judge made an error in allowing initial statements and conversations with police to be used during his trial.
His legal team claimed Bennetts should have been informed he was a suspect, instead of police claims he was just being questioned as a witness.
When Bennetts was first questioned, police were yet to find a body and were investigating Jayde as a missing person.
One interview with Bennetts and detectives, shown at his murder trial, featured him saying "she told me she needed to get away for a while" and "you've probably pieced together that I'm a liar".
"How they spoke with and how they treated him, the conclusion would be, that he was a suspect," Mr Copley wrote in Bennetts' appeal submission.
Despite the claims, Bennetts' attempt to get his conviction overturned - triggering a new murder trial - was denied.
Speaking outside court after the judgment, Jayde's father Bruce Morrisey and her grandfather Denis Morrisey, said the family was relieved.
Bennetts will be up for parole in 20 years - something Jayde's family said shouldn't be happening.
"It sends a message out there that this sort of thing cannot happen. Our society has got to change," Denis Morrisey said.
"Whether 20 years is enough, we question that. We question the powers that be … because Jayde would only be 35 if he was allowed out on bail and we've missed her 18th birthday. We will miss her graduation. We will miss her 21st. We will miss her going to university and growing up, being a lovely young lady and having a family, and it's not right," Denis said.
Fighting back tears, Jayde's dad said his daughter's death would carry through generations of their family.
"It's not just a life sentence. It's a sentence for everybody in our family. It's a sentence that carries on throughout generations … and 20 years just doesn't seem right [because] my daughter's life was worth more than 20 years," he said.
Jayde was last seen getting into Bennetts' car after school, and her body was discovered 13 days later on a rural property outside Gatton, west of Brisbane.
Bennetts was found guilty of her murder on September 14, 2017 after the jury took less than a day to deliberate.
In closing arguments, Mr Copley said Jayde's death could have been from sexual misadventure and Bennetts had withdrawn the money in a panic to make it seem all was well.
The court had heard Bennetts was inclined to choking his sexual partners and had taken it "too far" with two previous girlfriends.
But prosecutor Vicki Loury said Bennetts' lies and attempts to conceal evidence were "out of proportion" to an accidental killing.
"If it was a terrible tragedy, why didn't he get her help?" Ms Loury said. "He let her family search for her in the vain hope she was alive. You can almost see the cogs turning in his head to make up a version that makes sense."
She said if Jayde had died from sexual misadventure, why did Bennetts not call triple-0.
"Because that's what people do, they ring for help," she said. "Not to drag a person up a hill and then leave her and go about lying about where she is for days."
The court heard Bennetts searched YouTube for "best way to dispose of a body" the day before he killed Jayde.
- With wires