James Mason plead not guilty to the murder of his girlfriend Alexis Parkes. He plead guilty to arson after deliberately setting Ms Parkes vehicle on fire. Ms Parkes died in February 2020 after suffering organ failure several days after being rescued from her burning house in Chermside.
The Court heard evidence of heated disagreements between the couple which led to Mr Mason setting Ms Parkes car on fire. The car was located under the house, and this was where it was located when it was set on fire. The blaze spread from the vehicle to the house where Ms Parkes was locked inside.
Mr Mason used fuel from the lawn mower and a tea candle to deliberately set the car on fire before walking away. There was evidence which showed that Mr Mason had removed his items from the residence before setting the car on fire.
Mr Mason made no attempts to save Ms Parkes, however when interviewed by Police he tried to change his story to say that he did attempt to save her.
This was proven to be inconsistent with the evidence which was provided by Ms Parkes neighbours who were present and made attempts to try to save her. Not one of them saw Mr Mason or his alleged efforts to save her like he claimed.
After a three day trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty in less than a day. Mr Mason was sentenced to life imprisonment following the verdict. He must serve at least twenty (20) years of his sentence in prison before he is eligible to apply for parole.
At the sentence Justice Jackson remarked that he accepted that Mr Mason had not intentionally kill Ms Parkes however he lit the fire to vehicle out of spite and would have been aware of the extreme risks of his actions and yet he proceeded with setting the fire.
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