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A Queensland man plotted to use his wife’s life insurance money to build a church and a commune for the rapture, a jury has found. The wife killed herself in November 2014 under pressure from her husband even though she wasn’t terminally ill . A 69-year-old Graham Robert Morant was the sole beneficiary of his wife’s three life insurance policies totaling $1.4m.
The Guardian reports:
Jennifer Morant lived with chronic back pain, and found even the most simple every day tasks difficult, but did not have a terminal illness.
Her husband persuaded her to take her life over several months by telling her the funds would go towards a commune that would provide a haven from the biblical rapture, where he would be pastor.
He told police she wanted to die but two witnesses close to her testified she did not want to kill herself and was scared by his pressure on her to do so.
“I had such a zest and zeal to live. She had such a zest and zeal to die,” Graham Morant told police in an interview.
Her best friend, Johanna Cornelia Dent, said Jennifer Morant felt the only way to escape death was to win the lottery.
Jennifer’s sister, Lynette Anne Lucas, told the jury how Graham Morant justified the act of suicide by telling Jennifer that her suicide would not be a sin in God’s eyes because of the financial benefit to their church.
“Consistent with the directions I gave the jury, the jury has concluded but for the counselling Ms Morant would not have ended her life,” Justice Davis said. “The offences are serious.” The jury’s verdict showed Morant intended for his wife to take her life, Davis said. He said a jail sentence was “inevitable” but indicated he might wholly or partially suspend the sentence based on the strength of submissions, the Guardian reports. The sentencing phase will begin soon.