In Small Places
By Emily Maguire
Originally published in Right Now
Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Eleanor Roosevelt.
On 16 November 2011 Robert Bretherton was relaxing with a few beers while his wife Jodie Jurd made dinner. The couple was in the process of separating and things were tense. She asked what they would do with the proceeds of the sale of their house and:
…a huge argument started… I’ve walked into the bedroom – it’s back and forth – by this stage I was really fuming – she said something to me – I don’t know what she said – I came to – I got a knife and I was stabbing her – [I thought] what the fuck do I do – there was a big spurt of blood coming out of her stomach…
That’s Bretherton’s version of events. Jurd’s ability to tell her version disappeared the moment Bretherton killed her. But testimony at his trial suggests that if she could speak, she would start the story much earlier.
Sentencing him to a term of imprisonment of 21 years with a non-parole period of 15 years and 9 months, Justice Harrison noted “the offender’s intense jealousy of the deceased’s close relationship with her family” and the way he had “continually sought to limit the frequency” of Jurd’s contact with them, whether in person or by phone. Friends of Jurd testified that she’d told them Bretherton “had hit her, kicked her and slapped her, and that it was worse when he was drinking.”
Despite all this, Justice Harrison considered that, “Nothing in the evidence contained the slightest foreboding of what ultimately occurred.”