Graham Morant planned to build a religious commune with the money from his wife’s life insurance. He even drove her past the property he wanted to buy before he talked her into killing herself.
As Yahoo 7 News reports, Graham’s wife, Jennifer, was a generally healthy 56-year-old woman who suffered from depression, anxiety, and chronic back pain. She also had three life insurance policies, totaling about $1 million. Her 69-year-old husband was her sole beneficiary.
In 2014, the man from Queensland, Australia, began counseling his wife to commit suicide. He told her it wasn’t a sin, but something that God would consider good for the faith. According to the Sun, Graham even drove Jennifer to the store to buy the generator she would use to commit suicide.
On November 30, 2014, Jennifer was found dead in her car at her Queensland home. Beside her was a note that read, “Please don’t resuscitate me.”
Jennifer’s family and friends describe her as friendly and bubbly. But as her sister told Yahoo 7 News, though they tried to help her, “we feel we might have failed her a bit.” She added:
“It’s very sad that she had to think like this, and that she was forced to think like this.”
Jennifer’s family believes her husband took advantage of her vulnerability for his own gain. And a court agreed. Last week, Graham was sentenced to ten years in prison for counseling and aiding his wife’s suicide. According to ITV News, at the hearing, the judge told Graham:
“Mrs. Morant was a vulnerable person with difficulties with her physical health. You convinced Mrs Morant that she should kill herself, in doing so you took advantage of her vulnerability as a sick and depressed woman.”
Graham had pleaded not guilty, claiming he was motivated by compassion for his wife. However, the judge disagreed, saying that it was clear that Graham was motivated by greed: “You counseled your wife to kill herself because you wanted to get your hands on the [$1 million].”
The ruling set a precedent in Australia, where no one has ever been jailed for counseling suicide. Last year in the U.S., Michelle Carter was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for urging her then-boyfriend to commit suicide.