The school cleaner who raped and murdered Stephanie Scott has been found guilty and will serve the rest of his life in jail.
Stephanie Scott tragically went missing just one day before she was due to be wedded to the love of her life, fiance Aaron Leeson-Wooley. Her body was later found 70 kilometres away from her Leeton home, in the middle of a national park.
An inquiry into her death found Standford guilty without question and sentenced him to life in jail without the possibility of parole.
Justice Hulme, the judge residing over the case, said that the accused had stalked three other females, including a 12-year-old-girl, whom he had been planning to kidnap, according to police statements.
The 25-year-old male pleeded guilty to the rape and murder of Ms Scott, who was 26 when she was abducted on Easter Sunday last year.
After the hearing Ms Scott’s mother made a devastating statement to the press.
“The past 18 months have been the most difficult and harrowing time. So much has been taken away form us. Stephanie has had everything taken away from her,” she said.
“The public interest in this tragedy is understandable. Stephanie embodied all that was good about human kind.
“She made a tangible difference to the lives of so many people. Stephanie would want us to resume our lives.
She also said that whilst the family would continue to mourn for their precious daughter, “we need to be kind to ourselves and let the music and the fun back in. We need to be able to fade from public view and work our way through our grief.”
Mrs Scott thanked the caseworkers and members of the police who worked tirelessly to bring justice to Stephanie.
Stanford’s identical brother Marcus has also been sentenced to 15 months in jail for being an accessory, after the fact, to murder.
The court heard a chilling statement from the convicted man, where he admitted to raping Stephanie, before stabbing her in the neck “to make sure she was dead”.
When the judge asked why he committed his heinous crime, Stanford answered: “I had to kill her I was not angry or anything I was pretty emotionless I just thought I had to kill her… I think I have mental problems, I didn’t feel angry, I just wanted to kill.”
The court also heard about Stanford’s bizarre actions after the murder, where he returned home, ate lunch, drank a coffee and returned to the school where he used a high-pressure cleaner to remove evidence from the scene of the crime.
Mrs Scott said the family could now rest easy and begin to rebuild their lives knowing her murderer was behind bars.
She said that the family will all be celebrating what would have been Stephanie’s 28th birthday on Friday.
“This should be her 28th birthday – the second one we celebrate without her. We will be having a cup of tea and a Mint Slice biscuit at three.”