Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Murder Victim's Parents Feel A[euro][approximately]betrayed' by Teacher

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Murder Victim's Parents Feel A[euro][approximately]betrayed' by Teacher

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Hardwick

WHY respected school teacher Graeme Frederick McNeil had helped student Anthony Rowlingson dump the body of his murdered brother was abewilderinga, a Toowoomba Supreme Court judge said yesterday.

McNeil, 46, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact of murder in helping Anthony Rowlingson, then 16, dump the body of his brother Robert Rowlingson, 19, over a bridge into a waterway on the Clifton/Leyburn Road between Pittsworth and Clifton on Sunday, July 15, 2007.

McNeil also pleaded guilty to making two false statements to police in the weeks after the murder when he had lied in an attempt to distance himself from any involvement in the matter.

Justice Anthe Philippides said McNeil's behaviour was abewilderinga given he had no previous criminal history at all, was highly regarded in the community and was a minister with the Cross of Christ Ministry.

McNeil was sentenced to eight years jail with a recommendation he be eligible to apply for release on parole from May 12, 2013, after he had served three years.

Crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy said Rowlingson's parents John and Wendell Rowlingson, who were in court yesterday for the sentencing, were left with a feeling of abetrayala by the actions of McNeil who had been a respected teacher and role model for their son Anthony.

The Rowlingsons still struggled to comprehend McNeil's involvement in the tragedy which had destroyed the family unit, he said.

Mr McCarthy said the relationship between McNeil and the teenage killer was beyond the normal student/teacher relationship which had been the case between McNeil and many students at the school where he taught for six years.

A maths and physics teacher, McNeil had taken on the role of watching over students with particular problems and he was known to give his mobile phone number and email address to students who could contact him outside school hours if the need arose.

Rowlingson had called McNeil's mobile phone several times that afternoon as he drove around Pittsworth in Robert Rowlingson's car with his brother's body in the boot.

Earlier that afternoon, Anthony Rowlingson had taken a . …

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