Home U.S Gunnedah farm killing; 14-year-old not criminally responsible for death of 10-year-old

Gunnedah farm killing; 14-year-old not criminally responsible for death of 10-year-old

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Moments after a teenage girl carried out a horrific killing so gruesome courts banned media from reporting the details, she wandered to a neighbour’s house to confess – before telling police: ‘I don’t feel anything’.

The NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday determined the now 15-year-old wasn’t criminally responsible for the fatal injuries she inflicted on a 10-year-old girl at a rural property in Gunnedah, north-eastern NSW, on July 8, 2020.

The short no-jury trial, overseen by Acting Justice Carolyn Simpson, found the girl was suffering from severe mental illness and had difficulty determining ‘dreams from reality’.

Psychiatrists concluded that, at the time, she was suffering from untreated schizophrenia which included auditory hallucinations coaxing her to kill, along with delusions her life and experiences were not real.

In the lead up to the shocking incident which rocked the small community, the court heard she had been acting strangely and said she was hearing voices.

A 14-year-old girl caused the fatal injuries of a 10-year-old girl (pictured) but a judge has found she wasn't criminally responsible due to mental illness

A 14-year-old girl caused the fatal injuries of a 10-year-old girl (pictured) but a judge has found she wasn’t criminally responsible due to mental illness 

Agreed facts tendered to the court revealed that leading up the attack she killed six family chickens and then threw them onto a fire.

She also wrote in her diary about ‘hearing voices’ and seeing visions.

One day before she left for home to carry out the attack she wrote: ‘I’m getting sick and tired of being told I’m a liar when I say I see cat eyes in a dark room and feel like I’m going to kill someone,’ The Australian reported.

Almost immediately after the attack she walked to a neighbouring property and told the person living there she had just killed a girl, the court heard.

When police arrived at the grisly scene the teen recounted the gruesome details about what happened.

Bodycam footage shows a police officer asking: ‘Do you understand what you have done?’

Appearing unfazed she replied: ‘Yep.’

‘How do you feel about that?’ the officer follows up.

‘I don’t feel anything,’ the girl says.

The teenager will remain in detention under supervision and will be reviewed by the Mental Health Tribunal until deemed fit for release. 

Neither of the girls’ names can be published because of their age nor can any of the details of the fatal injuries as they have been subject to a non-publication order by the court.

The farming community of Gunnedah in north-western NSW was shocked by the incident

The farming community of Gunnedah in north-western NSW was shocked by the incident

Six victim impacts statements were presented to the court.

The girl’s mother said she was unable to block out the guilt she felt in being unable to hold her daughter as she died, alone in a terrible place.

‘No one teaches you how to cope with this type of loss, this type of pain,’ she said.

Her brain tried to shut out the events which were ‘so depraved they belong in a horror movie’.

Her daughter had been a free-spirit, full of curiosity and had just started to find herself.

The victim’s paternal grandmother told the judge of her pain over the ‘callous, calculated and morally reprehensible’ slaying of her granddaughter.

Police and SES volunteers search a paddock next to where the 14 year old gird killed the 10 year old

Police and SES volunteers search a paddock next to where the 14 year old gird killed the 10 year old

‘I will never speak the defendant’s name – she doesn’t deserve a name,’ she said.

‘We are haunted by the terror, pain and incomprehension that (the girl) must have gone through to die that way. Terrified, alone, helpless and innocent.’

She was caught totally by surprise in a place that should have been safe.

The young girl was full of promise, clever, cheeky, loving, intelligent and sassy.

‘She didn’t even get to finish year 5,’ she said.

They feared ‘this heinous act’ could so easily be repeated by the accused. 

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