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Australian Man to Serve Jail Time for Role in Wife’s Suicide in Landmark Legal Case

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Last month, Graham Morant was found guilty on two counts in Australia’s Supreme Court in Brisbane for aiding his wife, Jennifer Morant, in dying by suicide in 2014. During a sentencing hearing on Nov. 2, Graham received a 10-year sentence for counseling and a six-year sentence for aiding in his wife’s suicide.

Jennifer lived with chronic pain, depression and anxiety and had expressed thoughts of suicide to her husband. Instead of getting her help, Graham convinced her to die by suicide. He facilitated her suicide by purchasing equipment that would be used in her death. Graham stood to inherit AUD $1.4 million as the sole beneficiary of his wife’s three insurance plans. Witnesses testified during the hearing he wanted to use the money to build a religious commune.

This case is one of two worldwide to set a legal precedent for those who aid, counsel or suggest someone die by suicide. In August 2017, Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the United States for the 2014 suicide of Conrad Roy after she sent a series of text messages encouraging him to die by suicide. The jury in the latest case found Graham, who pleaded not guilty, directly contributed to Jennifer’s death.

“Mrs. Morant was a vulnerable person with difficulties with her physical health. She was suffering depression,” Supreme Court Justice Peter Davis told Morant during sentencing. “You took advantage of those vulnerabilities in order to persuade her to kill herself and then assisted her to do so once she had made that decision.”

Graham Morant will serve his two sentences concurrently and will be eligible for parole in October 2023.

If you’re a suicide loss survivor and this news is hard for you, please remember this is not a typical suicide loss story. Suicide is complicated, and typically no one person or factor is to blame. For those struggling with the death of a loved one, we’ve compiled a list of resources that may help you in your healing process.

Header image via BBC News Facebook page.

Originally published: November 6, 2018
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