Family of murdered teen faces painful life sentence

AS MAX Peter Smith was led away to spend at least the next 13 years behind bars, Jake Lasker's mother Joanne was left wondering who suffered the harsher penalty.

"While you will serve time for (your crime) Max," she said reading aloud her victim impact statement to the court, "it is our family who has the life sentence".

Outside court, John and Joanne Lasker - dressed in Jake's favourite colour green with shirts bearing his name, birth and death date - spoke of the heartache of losing their first born son.

"It's hard, we shouldn't be doing this... we shouldn't be here (at court), Jake should still be with us," Mrs Lasker said.

From his seat in the public gallery, Mr Lasker caught a glimpse of the murder scene in photographs handed up to Justice Alan Wilson.

"I blurred my vision and looked away, I didn't want to see that," Mr Lasker said.

And, watching Smith being sentenced to life imprisonment did little to ease his pain.

"That (Smith's life sentence) doesn't bring Jake back," he said.

John and Joanne Lasker out Toowoomba courthouse.
John and Joanne Lasker out Toowoomba courthouse. Nev Madsen

Because of Jake's Asperger's syndrome, he had been bullied at school and found it very difficult to relate to other people and find friends.

That his death came at the hands of someone he had considered his best friend made it all the more difficult to accept.

"He was bullied at school and he spent a lot of time on his own," Mr Lasker said.

"When the other kids had playtime he'd go to the library or do other things."

Mrs Lasker said despite the adversity with which her son had to contend all his short life, Jake was a beautiful person.

"I've lost my precious boy and my heart is broken and it will never be repaired," she said.

"We have to go on now and live life for Adam (Jake's younger brother who has autism)."

Mr Lasker was pleased in a way Adam didn't fully understand his brother's fate.

"He knows Jake is gone but he doesn't really know what happened to him, and that's probably good."

Jake Lasker would have turned 22 next week.

Jake Lasker
Jake Lasker


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