BIG UPDATE TODAY 26/03/2012
FOR the first time, an Adelaide court has heard the circumstances and motive behind the massacre of Kapunda’s Rowe family.
Andrew, Rose and Chantelle Rowe were found dead in their home in Kapunda. Supplied
Jason Downie murdered Andrew, Rose and Chantelle Rowe because of his sexual obsession with 16-year-old Chantelle.
Details of what occurred inside the Harriet St home in November 2010 were revealed in the Supreme Court this morning.
Prosecutors told the court that Downie had an unwanted and unreturned sexual infatuation with Chantelle in the months leading up to the triple murder.
They said she put up with his unwanted attitude because he was friends with her boyfriend.
However, prosecutors stressed that at no time was Chantelle in a relationship with Downie.
Prosecutors also described horrific new details about the murder scene, saying it would “not be an exaggeration” to call it blood-soaked.
They said Andrew and Chantelle were each stabbed in excess of 30 times by Downie.
Prosecutors said that while murdering Chantelle, Downie also raped her.
Following the attack, he removed her damaged clothing and re-dressed her in clean clothes.
Chantelle’s mother, Rose, was stabbed in excess of 50 times, including while she was crawling on her hands and knees.
The court has also heard highly emotional victim impact statements from relatives and friends of the Rowe family.
Downie, who confessed to the killings, showed little reaction during many of those statements.
However, he glared at Andrew’s sister when she confronted him across the courtroom and asked what right he had to “take away three angels”.
At the start of today’s hearing, Downie again pleaded guilty to three counts of murder committed on November 8, 2010 .
His pleas were confirmed at the insistence of Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Pallaras, QC.
In an unusual move, Mr Pallaras had last month asked Justice John Sulan to “re-arraign” Downie before sentencing submissions were heard.
“We are aware of a conversation had by the accused, with his brother, in which he expressed an attitude inconsistent with his plea,” Mr Pallaras told the court on February 7.
“That attitude is also found in a letter he wrote, to his mother, on an earlier date.
“We are concerned that his pleas of guilty be seen to be unequivocal… the last thing we want is a reversal of plea.
“We urge Your Honour to confirm that he has consciously pleaded guilty and that those are unequivocal pleas of guilty to these charges.”
Justice Sulan is now hearing sentencing submissions – including an expected 26 victim impact statements written by the family’s surviving son, Christopher, and their friends and family.
Five days after the murders, a TV crew recorded Downie visiting a memorial for the Rowe family.
He was seen walking along their property’s rear fence and pausing to look at flowers and cards before walking off.
Downie was arrested on November 16, 2010, after voluntarily attending the Kapunda police station.
Just hours before, detectives had contacted one of his workmates and asked that he “bring Downie in” for questioning.
Downie’s outsider status was backed up by his profiles on social networking websites.
They revealed his hatred for Kapunda – which he dubbed “Krapunda” – but also claimed he was popular.
It listed him as being “in a relationship” and said he enjoyed “partying and hanging out with my friends”.
“I love my sport, I am very active on and off the basketball court if you know what I mean,” he wrote.
The sites also detailed his love of basketball and the Saw horror movies, as well as his devotion to his mother, despite their occasional clashes.
Both of Downie’s pages listed Chantelle as a friend.
The “best thing” to ever happen to Downie, he wrote on one site, was “leaving school”, while his worst fear was “not seeing my family”.
“Love my family in Scotland, haven’t seen them for six years,” he wrote.
“I grew up without a dad since I was two months old, so I have been raised up by my mum all my life . . . I respect and love her to death, even though we have our bad moments.”
AdelaideNow understands Downie’s birth certificate does not list the identity of his father.
His brother, Jamie, was living in Kapunda at the time of the murders.
His half-sister, Jodie, lives in Kilmarnock, Scotland, and was in regular correspondence with her brother prior to his arrest.
Getting any news in relation to the Jason Downie case is very frustrating.I have been sitting on an email I received form a person claiming to be from Scotland and connected to his family over there. It raises some very interesting things and I have decided to post it here in full (Although not revealing who sent it to me). Have a read and lets see what it brings to the table.
I’m contacting you because you have been following the Rowe murders on your blog and you may be
interested in a heads up on a line the defence may take.
Let me me introduce myself my name is ***** ******* and I live in Kilmarnock, Scotland. I am
friendly with Jacqui and Ronnie Weir who are godmother and godfather to the boy accused of
killing the Rowe family.
I have always found them to be nice people but recently they have started saying some suff that isn’t right.
When we found out that their godson had been charged wth a triple murder we were shocked but weren’t
surprised to hear them say he was 100% innocent and supported them. I avoided reading anything to do
with the murders because I knew it would portray the boy as guilty and as he hadn’t been tried yet so reckoned
he deserved a fair go. I was also persuaded by the strong arguments of his godmother saying that he didn’t do it.
Then about three weeks ago the attitude suddenly changed. His godmother started putting it round
that Chantelle has ‘messed with his mind’ and basically talked him into murdering her parents only
it all backfired because Jason sussed he was being used and snapped, killing Chantelle as well.
I think this is lies. I think it is a slur on an innocent family who aren’t here to defend themselves.
Still I think it is worth people knowing that this is being put about.
More than anything else it is such a sudden change of story. One minute Downie’s family are
convinced he’s 100% innocent. The next they blame the Rowes for inciting their own murder.
My guess is new and damning evidence against Jason Downie has been uncovered and they
are trying to get him a reduced sentence by making it seem like he was provoked. I don’t know
what Aussie courts are like but here in Scotland smears against the victims like that can mean
a reduced sentence.
I don’t believe in the death penalty but I do believe that life should mean life and if as I now
know Downie is guilty of these murders he should never be freed from prison. If the defence
can make it look like he was provoked he might get a lighter sentence. No matter whether or not
Downie did do it the Rowes don’t deserve to be slandered like this. Like I say none of us know all
the evidence against Downie yet but his family are acting like he’s guilty and are slandering the victims.
It’s not right.
If you want to use any of this on your blog you can but the Weirs are pretty rough people and I may be
attacked or driven out my home for speaking out against them so I am asking you not to use my real
name or just refer to me as ‘an insider’ ‘a friend’ or ‘a neighbour’. If you want to pass any of this onto
lawyers acting for the prosecution that is fine too. It might help them out if they know what Downie’s
defence are thinking. The Rowes have been though enough. If there is a decent bone left in Downies body
he’ll plead guilty but with what has been said recently I think he is going to blacken Chantelles name to get
an easy sentence. This needs to be stopped.