Manslaughter guilty plea over Jodie Jurd  

JODIE Jurd’s father initially thought her boyfriend was ‘‘quiet and didn’t say much’’ but as the years passed, Norman Jurd and his family observed a series of strange incidents leading up to Jodie’s death, a Supreme Court jury heard on Monday.

Robert Bretherton, 38, pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Jurd on the basis that he was substantially impaired due to an abnormality of the mind.

His barrister, Thomas Corish, told the jury that Mr Bretherton had seemed ‘‘strange’’ and ‘‘different’’ his entire life and that he had since been diagnosed with a major depressive illness and was on the autism spectrum. Mr Corish said the defence of substantial impairment, which reduces murder to manslaughter, was ‘‘not a denial of responsibility’’ or a ‘‘get out of jail free card’’. He said there would be evidence that Mr Bretherton, who wept while Mr Corish made his opening address to the jury, sometimes had tantrums like a two-year-old.

Mr Bretherton was found beside Ms Jurd’s body in the bedroom of her Bellbird home on November 16, 2011.

She suffered 12 stab wounds to her chest, stomach and back.

Norman Jurd told the jury that his daughter introduced Mr Bretherton to the family several years before her death.

Mr Bretherton declined to attend the family’s weekly Sunday dinners and had said that he didn’t think Jodie needed to see her family more than once a month, Mr Jurd said.

The couple separated about three times over the years and Ms Jurd had told her father that Mr Bretherton had pushed her over and kicked her in the back on one occasion and punched her on others, Mr Jurd said.


In late 2010 or early 2011, Jodie told her father that Mr Bretherton had burned her home-made Christmas decorations.

Her mother, Muriel, described an incident at the family’s holiday home where Mr Bretherton told the Jurds he hated them and described Jodie as their ‘‘slut daughter’’. Mr Bretherton had said that Jodie was too affectionate towards her brothers and she was spending too much time with other family members, not him, Mrs Jurd said.

By November 2011, the couple had decided to try and reconcile with Mr Bretherton finding work at a mine near Narrabri while Ms Jurd, a nurse, was looking for work in the area, Mr Jurd said.

The couple owned a number of properties and it was decided Mr Bretherton would receive the proceeds from a Queensland property while Ms Jurd would receive the proceeds from the sale of the Bellbird property, Crown prosecutor Peter Barnett, SC, said.

The trial continues.

BEREAVED DAD: Norman Jurd leaves court yesterday after giving testimony about the relationship of his daughter Jodie Jurd, and her boyfriend, who was accused of her murder.