QT Year in Review: Gerard Baden-Clay found guilty

Police photographs of marks on Gerard Baden-Clay’s skin were used in evidence in his murder trial.
Police photographs of marks on Gerard Baden-Clay’s skin were used in evidence in his murder trial. Contributed

GERARD Baden-Clay captured the public's attention in July as he went to trial accused of murdering his wife Allison. The month also held tragedy in the deaths of 20-year-old Tom Bond and alleged murder victim Mal Wood.  

Justice for Allison

TWO years after her death, Allison Baden-Clay's family finally found justice when her husband Gerard Baden-Clay was found guilty of murdering the mother of three.

After a lengthy trial that began in June, a Supreme Court jury found Baden-Clay guilty of murder on July 15.

Justice John Byrne sentenced Baden-Clay to life imprisonment and said the murderer was prone to lies and public deception.

"Your shameful conduct after murdering Allison bespeaks a profound absence of remorse," he said.

"You used a razor to cut yourself near where she had scratched you, trying to disguise the injury she inflicted in defending herself. The killing was not pre-meditated but it was violent."

"The prosecution suggests you smothered Allison and that looks likely."

"But whatever the mechanism, your violent attack caused her death."

Yellow balloons were released to honour Allison's memory and yellow ribbons were sold across Ipswich and Brisbane to raise money for her three daughters.

Allison's older sister, Vanessa Fowler, said the verdict meant her sister finally came out on top.

"Her life, her dreams were cut short and the lives of many changes forever," she said.

"Allison inspired me to be a better person, a better mother."

"One thing we have seen from this trial is that Allison was strong and she fought to her death."  

Class action

IPSWICH and Brisbane flood victims launched a class action lawsuit on July 8 against Seqwater, Sunwater and the State of Queensland over the release of water from Wivenhoe and Somerset dams during the height of the 2011 floods.

The lawsuit, which had to be filed in the New South Wales Supreme Court rather than Queensland, claims dam engineers were negligent in the release of water from the dam.

"It is the conduct of the flood engineers that is at the centre of this case," Maurice Blackburn Lawyers principal Damian Scattini said the day the firm filed the lawsuit.

"We have people in Ipswich still living in caravans."

A NSW judge finally ruled in November that the lawsuit could go ahead, three months after the case was filed.

A trial date has now been set for July 2016.

More than 4500 residents and business owners from across Ipswich and Brisbane are represented in the case.  

A father's warning

BLUE balloons were released and mourners donned Hawaiian shirts to honour the life of 20-year-old Tom Bond as he was farewelled in a funeral on July 11.

The much-loved Ipswich brother and son was hit and killed by a train in early July after what is believed to have been a severe reaction and panic attack to his first use of marijuana.

Tom's father Andrew Bond appealed to the public to turn away from drugs to honour his son's memory.

"My message to people is to not experiment - it's not worth the risk," he told the QT.

"My son was a great kid who was learning and growing... he made mistakes but I think he made no more or no less than most.

In this instance, he made a mistake for which he has paid the ultimate price." 

Higher education

AS University of Queensland winds down its ties to Ipswich, another university announced in July that it would take UQ's place.

University of Southern Queensland, which already has a presence in Springfield, announced mid-July that an in-principle agreement had been reached between the two universities for USQ to takeover UQ's Ipswich site from early January 2015.

The move had been under discussion since April, when a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two universities.

UQ vice chancellor Professor Peter Høj said there would be a two-year period where UQ students would continue to have access to the campus and complete their UQ degrees. 

Ripley Valley development

Ipswich's property hopes continued in July with a meeting of developers keen to get behind the Providence community in the Ripley Valley.

About 30 builders met with project directors to plan a display village showing work from some of the nation's most well-known home builders.

As of mid-July, about 750 people each week were searching for information on Providence.

The display village is due to be open in mid-2015.

Sales in the valley have been ramping up throughout the year.

"From May, when we opened our sales centre, to the end of October, we have sold 200 lots.

"We've been selling more than one block of land every day for six months," Providence project director Michael Khan said in December.

Stage Two of the nearby Ecco Ripley master-planned community had a fast-tracked launch in July after Stage One all but sold out.

Ecco Ripley developers opened the first of its planned 40 hectares of parkland in October and the first completed display home was unveiled in late November. 

Murder charge

AS July came to an end, Ipswich man Mal Wood was fighting for his life in a Brisbane Hospital after his housemate allegedly tortured and attempted to kill him.

Police officers were called to Mr Wood's home that he shared with Kenneth John Beattie and a woman. Mr Wood died of his injuries on July 31.

Mr Beattie is now before the courts charged with torture and murdering Mr Woods.

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