Jason Downie confirms Kapunda triple-murder guilt; Adelaide Supreme Court told details of Rowe family massacre
Sean Fewster AdelaideNow
Jason Downie murdered Andrew, Rose and Chantelle Rowe because of his sexual obsession with 16-year-old Chantelle.
Details of what occurred inside the Harriet St home in November 2010 were revealed in the Supreme Court this morning.
Prosecutors told the court that Downie had an unwanted and unreturned sexual infatuation with Chantelle in the months leading up to the triple murder.
They said she put up with his unwanted attitude because he was friends with her boyfriend.
However, prosecutors stressed that at no time was Chantelle in a relationship with Downie.
Prosecutors also described horrific new details about the murder scene, saying it would “not be an exaggeration” to call it blood-soaked.
They said Andrew and Chantelle were each stabbed in excess of 30 times by Downie.
Prosecutors said that while murdering Chantelle, Downie also raped her.
Following the attack, he removed her damaged clothing and re-dressed her in clean clothes.
Chantelle’s mother, Rose, was stabbed in excess of 50 times, including while she was crawling on her hands and knees.
The court has also heard highly emotional victim impact statements from relatives and friends of the Rowe family.
Downie, who confessed to the killings, showed little reaction during many of those statements.
However, he glared at Andrew’s sister when she confronted him across the courtroom and asked what right he had to “take away three angels”.
At the start of today’s hearing, Downie again pleaded guilty to three counts of murder committed on November 8, 2010 .
His pleas were confirmed at the insistence of Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Pallaras, QC.
In an unusual move, Mr Pallaras had last month asked Justice John Sulan to “re-arraign” Downie before sentencing submissions were heard.
“We are aware of a conversation had by the accused, with his brother, in which he expressed an attitude inconsistent with his plea,” Mr Pallaras told the court on February 7.
“That attitude is also found in a letter he wrote, to his mother, on an earlier date.
“We are concerned that his pleas of guilty be seen to be unequivocal… the last thing we want is a reversal of plea.
“We urge Your Honour to confirm that he has consciously pleaded guilty and that those are unequivocal pleas of guilty to these charges.”
Justice Sulan is now hearing sentencing submissions – including an expected 26 victim impact statements written by the family’s surviving son, Christopher, and their friends and family.
Five days after the murders, a TV crew recorded Downie visiting a memorial for the Rowe family.
He was seen walking along their property’s rear fence and pausing to look at flowers and cards before walking off.
Downie was arrested on November 16, 2010, after voluntarily attending the Kapunda police station.
Just hours before, detectives had contacted one of his workmates and asked that he “bring Downie in” for questioning.
Downie’s outsider status was backed up by his profiles on social networking websites.
They revealed his hatred for Kapunda – which he dubbed “Krapunda” – but also claimed he was popular.
It listed him as being “in a relationship” and said he enjoyed “partying and hanging out with my friends”.
“I love my sport, I am very active on and off the basketball court if you know what I mean,” he wrote.
The sites also detailed his love of basketball and the Saw horror movies, as well as his devotion to his mother, despite their occasional clashes.
Both of Downie’s pages listed Chantelle as a friend.
The “best thing” to ever happen to Downie, he wrote on one site, was “leaving school”, while his worst fear was “not seeing my family”.
“Love my family in Scotland, haven’t seen them for six years,” he wrote.
“I grew up without a dad since I was two months old, so I have been raised up by my mum all my life . . . I respect and love her to death, even though we have our bad moments.”
AdelaideNow understands Downie’s birth certificate does not list the identity of his father.
His brother, Jamie, was living in Kapunda at the time of the murders.
His half-sister, Jodie, lives in Kilmarnock, Scotland, and was in regular correspondence with her brother prior to his arrest.