Australia court convicts woman of murdering mom to gain kids

2018-06-21 19:56


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

An Australian jury convicted an infertile woman on Thursday of murdering a mother-of-four in a plot to gain custody of the children.

Christine Lyons, 47, was found guilty in the Victoria state Supreme Court of murdering Samantha Kelly in January 2016 in a bungalow they shared with the children in the city of Bendigo. Lyons was also convicted of attempting to murder 39-year-old Kelly days earlier with an overdose of prescription drugs.

Lyons' partner at the time, Peter Arthur, 46, killed Kelly by striking her repeatedly on the head with a hammer. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty last year to murder.

Prosecutor Fran Dalziel told the jury that Lyons had been desperate to have children and wanted Kelly out of the way in a bid to gain custody of her children. Lyons had previously asked several women to become surrogate mothers for her, but none obliged.

To be sentenced

Lyons' former lover Ronald Lyons, a cousin-in-law by marriage who shared the same house, was on Thursday acquitted by the same jury of murdering Kelly. But he was found guilty of attempting to murder her with the overdose and of assisting a criminal by helping Arthur bury the body in a dry creek bed. The body was found a month after the murder.

The two Lyons will return to court on August 15 for a sentencing hearing. Christine Lyons faces a potential life in prison sentence.

Christine Lyons told the children, three of whom have disabilities, that their mother had suddenly abandoned them in the middle of the night. She told police that Kelly was an irresponsible parent with a drug problem.

Lyons initially took over care of the children and changed their names. But they now live with their uncle, Michael Kelly. He told reporters outside court on Thursday that one of the children still believes that their mother abandoned the family.

The victim's aunt, Tracey Lubcke, told reporters that her niece was a "gorgeous" but "vulnerable" woman who was preyed upon.

"She never saw the bad in people, even though they were horrible people," Lubcke said.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    australia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.