An Australian man is behind bars after a court convicted him of encouraging his wife to commit suicide so he could collect a million-dollar life insurance policy, BBC News is reporting.
Graham Morant, 68, was sentenced to ten years in prison for convincing his wife, Jennifer Morant, 56, to take her own life so he could collect on a life insurance policy worth $1.4 million AUD (about $1 million USD.)
Mrs. Morant suffered from chronic pain, depression, and anxiety, but was not terminally ill. Nevertheless, on November 30, 2014, Mrs. Morant was found dead in her car, with a note that said, “Please don’t resuscitate me.” Outside of her car was a gasoline-powered generator, which Jennifer had used to produce the deadly carbon monoxide fumes that would claim her life.
Her husband had gone to a hardware store the previous day to purchase the generator. It is unclear, as of this writing, if Mr. Morant helped facilitate Jennifer’s death in any other practical way, such as by running a hose from the generator to her car or sealing windows.
The Morants were both “extremely religious,” as The Guardian describes them. There is evidence that Graham Morants, who is described by the British newspaper as a “self-styled pastor,” preyed on his devoutly-Christian wife’s religious faith to fund his own proselytization efforts. Specifically, he was desperate for money so he could build a religious compound, complete with bunkers, where he and his followers could wait for the Rapture – the event where many Christians believe they will be taken up to Heaven in bodily form.
To that end, said Justice Peter Davis said of the Queensland Supreme Court, Graham was “desperate” to get Jennifer’s life insurance money.
“You counselled your wife to kill herself because you wanted to get your hands on the A$1.4 million… Mrs Morant was a vulnerable person with difficulties with her physical health. She was suffering depression. You took advantage of those vulnerabilities in order to persuade her to kill herself and then assisted her to do so once she had made that decision.”
Davis also said that Morant showed no remorse for his actions.
An Australian man has been sentenced to ten years in jail for encouraging his wife's suicide, in a case believed to have set a global precedent. Graham Morant was last month convicted of counselling & aiding his wife, Jennifer, to take her own life in 2014 #sabcnews #safmsunrise pic.twitter.com/dDhiuWm4fc— SAfm news (@SAfmnews) November 2, 2018
In sentencing Morant to ten years, Davis said that this is the first time in history that a person had been sentenced to prison for encouraging another to commit suicide. In fact, that’s not true: Massachusetts woman Michelle Carter was sentenced to 15 months for encouraging her friend, via text, to commit suicide.
Graham Moran can apply for parole in October 2023.