CRIME FILES: Robert Bretherton


Summary

ROBERT Bretherton was capable of better. He was capable of interacting with people, including women, and he was capable of at least appearing ‘‘normal’’ or fitting in, which begs the question: why did he save his worst for Jodie Jurd?
Nanjing Night Net

Bretherton, 38, was jailed this week for 21 years after previously being found guilty by a jury of murdering her. He claimed he was substantially impaired due to an abnormality of the mind when he stabbed the popular nurse 12 times in her Bellbird home on November 16, 2011.

The trial heard from women who had relationships with Bretherton in the 12 months leading up to the crime including one who fell pregnant to him.

Their experiences with Bretherton were in stark contrast to Jodie’s.

Jodie Jurd was born and raised in the Coalfields surrounded by a loving family.

After high school she studied nursing and found work locally before she was introduced to Bretherton at the Cessnock Ex-Services Club in 2001.

She had a group of girlfriends who liked to catch up often and a family that got together for Sunday tea every week.

All of that changed in 2001.

Some of the girlfriends told the Supreme Court they did not see much of Jodie after she met Bretherton.

When Jodie brought her new boyfriend around to meet the family, Bretherton didn’t fit in.

He sat on his own, he couldn’t hold a conversation and he made it clear that not only should he be excused from Sunday tea, but he didn’t see why Jodie should attend either.

‘‘He had no social skills,’’ Jodie’s father, Norm, said.

Jodie defended Bretherton saying he’d had a hard childhood and he couldn’t relate to a close-knit family.

But it wasn’t just Jodie’s family to which Bretherton objected. He shunned her friends, also.

One of Jodie’s friends told the court she was having a chat to Jodie on the phone one day when she heard a noise in the background and the phone was disconnected.

The friend rang back straight away and the phone was answered by Bretherton who refused to put Jodie back on the line then hung up.

He also influenced how Jodie dressed.

Norm recalled the immaculate way she dressed when she wasn’t with Bretherton.

She always took pride in her hair, make-up and clothes, but when she was with him she changed.

‘‘Frumpy’’ was the word Norm used.

A friend told the court Jodie had confided to her that Bretherton controlled who visited the house and was adamant Jodie’s friends and family were not welcome.

Jodie told others that Bretherton was jealous and liked to be the centre of attention.

She said he was more abusive and violent when he was drinking.

The couple moved in together in 2005 or 2006 and over the years they bought the Bellbird property in Cruikshank Street, a property in Queensland and other interests.

It was difficult to gauge the true state of the couple’s finances because even though they owned the properties together Bretherton was secretive and obsessed with money.

He worked weekends at the Wambo coalmine, but had played the stockmarket at times over the years.

He was constantly monitoring Jodie’s finances, but he wouldn’t share anything about his own.

She remarked to friends and family that she didn’t have a clue what he earned or what exactly he owned even though he knew everything about her.

Despite the strain of the relationship the couple tried to have children together without success. They resorted to IVF and it is believed Jodie financed the treatments at enormous expense to herself.

She endured the pain of 10 miscarriages and at least one witness said Bretherton blamed Jodie for being unable to sustain a pregnancy to full term.

Jodie loved Christmas.

She was the proud owner of a homemade collection of decorations and cut-outs that Bretherton destroyed in 2010.

For reasons known only to himself he set them alight in the backyard.

There were stories over the years of tantrums and fights.

Jodie’s mother, Muriel, recalled an incident when her daughter said: ‘‘I have to go home. Rob’s very upset that I’m spending too much time with you … and not enough with him.’’

Then in mid-2010 the couple decided to go on a trip.

The road trip was meant to be for three to five months, but the couple were home within several weeks with their relationship hanging by a thread.

Bretherton had confiscated Jodie’s credit cards to control her spending and seized her mobile phone to stop her from calling friends and family.

She confided to friends that Bretherton was violent and she feared what her family’s reaction would be.

Later that year they broke up.

But with a feeling of helplessness, friends and family worried she would eventually go back to Bretherton and she did.

By early 2011 the couple appeared to be trying to reconcile and intended to seek counselling.

Despite this, Bretherton was trawling dating websites and meeting other women.

Some of these relationships were purely sexual, but at least one was genuine.

It was with a younger woman who had tentatively gone online.

She met ‘‘Aussie Bob’’, as Bretherton called himself, and they agreed to meet in person.

He seemed nervous at first, but eventually opened up and they continued to see each other for a few months, she said.

For a man who couldn’t bring himself to attend Sunday tea with the Jurds, Bretherton was all of a sudden attending family functions with his new flame who could distinctly remember him engaging in conversation with her brothers.

It was perhaps the most damning evidence against Bretherton at the trial.

A man, who claimed he was on the autism spectrum, which he alleged reduced his culpability for the killing, was forming a healthy, loving relationship with another woman and doing the very things he claimed he was incapable of doing.

Bretherton called this new relationship off after about four months, but by then the woman was pregnant.

She later rang him and told him she’d had a miscarriage.

He was devastated.

He bought her flowers. He comforted her.

His reaction was in stark contrast to the way he had treated Jodie.

Throughout 2011 Jodie and Bretherton’s relationship fluctuated.

Friends who saw the text messages Jodie was receiving said they ranged from pleasant to abusive.

Despite their attempts to reconcile and plans to move out of the area together they proceeded to separate their property.

No one knows exactly what the couple fought about on the evening of November 16, 2011.

Bretherton had been drinking and there was paperwork in the house that suggested maybe they fought over the property settlement.

He had previously sent Jodie a message saying that if she did not sign the paperwork ‘‘your life won’t be worth living’’.

Neighbours had heard the couple fight before, but their last one was different.

There were banging noises and yelling before Jodie screamed.

A neighbour rang triple-0 before Bretherton himself did and police arrived at the scene minutes later. Bretherton was found kneeling over the body.

A knife was near Jodie’s feet.

Bretherton confessed to the stabbing immediately and his lawyers tried to convince a jury he was guilty only of manslaughter because of diminished responsibility.

A combination of stresses coupled with autism spectrum disorder and a major depressive illness lowered his culpability, reducing murder to manslaughter, they argued.

The jury must not have been impressed.

A decade of violence, control and manipulation was just too great to overcome.


ROBERT Bretherton was capable of better. He was capable of interacting with people, including women, and he was capable of at least appearing ‘‘normal’’ or fitting in, which begs the question: why did he save his worst for Jodie Jurd?
Nanjing Night Net

Bretherton, 38, was jailed this week for 21 years after previously being found guilty by a jury of murdering her. He claimed he was substantially impaired due to an abnormality of the mind when he stabbed the popular nurse 12 times in her Bellbird home on November 16, 2011.

The trial heard from women who had relationships with Bretherton in the 12 months leading up to the crime including one who fell pregnant to him.

Their experiences with Bretherton were in stark contrast to Jodie’s.

Jodie Jurd was born and raised in the Coalfields surrounded by a loving family.

After high school she studied nursing and found work locally before she was introduced to Bretherton at the Cessnock Ex-Services Club in 2001.

She had a group of girlfriends who liked to catch up often and a family that got together for Sunday tea every week.

All of that changed in 2001.

Some of the girlfriends told the Supreme Court they did not see much of Jodie after she met Bretherton.

When Jodie brought her new boyfriend around to meet the family, Bretherton didn’t fit in.

He sat on his own, he couldn’t hold a conversation and he made it clear that not only should he be excused from Sunday tea, but he didn’t see why Jodie should attend either.

‘‘He had no social skills,’’ Jodie’s father, Norm, said.

Jodie defended Bretherton saying he’d had a hard childhood and he couldn’t relate to a close-knit family.

But it wasn’t just Jodie’s family to which Bretherton objected. He shunned her friends, also.

One of Jodie’s friends told the court she was having a chat to Jodie on the phone one day when she heard a noise in the background and the phone was disconnected.

The friend rang back straight away and the phone was answered by Bretherton who refused to put Jodie back on the line then hung up.

He also influenced how Jodie dressed.

Norm recalled the immaculate way she dressed when she wasn’t with Bretherton.

She always took pride in her hair, make-up and clothes, but when she was with him she changed.

‘‘Frumpy’’ was the word Norm used.

A friend told the court Jodie had confided to her that Bretherton controlled who visited the house and was adamant Jodie’s friends and family were not welcome.

Jodie told others that Bretherton was jealous and liked to be the centre of attention.

She said he was more abusive and violent when he was drinking.

The couple moved in together in 2005 or 2006 and over the years they bought the Bellbird property in Cruikshank Street, a property in Queensland and other interests.

It was difficult to gauge the true state of the couple’s finances because even though they owned the properties together Bretherton was secretive and obsessed with money.

He worked weekends at the Wambo coalmine, but had played the stockmarket at times over the years.

He was constantly monitoring Jodie’s finances, but he wouldn’t share anything about his own.

She remarked to friends and family that she didn’t have a clue what he earned or what exactly he owned even though he knew everything about her.

Despite the strain of the relationship the couple tried to have children together without success. They resorted to IVF and it is believed Jodie financed the treatments at enormous expense to herself.

She endured the pain of 10 miscarriages and at least one witness said Bretherton blamed Jodie for being unable to sustain a pregnancy to full term.

Jodie loved Christmas.

She was the proud owner of a homemade collection of decorations and cut-outs that Bretherton destroyed in 2010.

For reasons known only to himself he set them alight in the backyard.

There were stories over the years of tantrums and fights.

Jodie’s mother, Muriel, recalled an incident when her daughter said: ‘‘I have to go home. Rob’s very upset that I’m spending too much time with you … and not enough with him.’’

Then in mid-2010 the couple decided to go on a trip.

The road trip was meant to be for three to five months, but the couple were home within several weeks with their relationship hanging by a thread.

Bretherton had confiscated Jodie’s credit cards to control her spending and seized her mobile phone to stop her from calling friends and family.

She confided to friends that Bretherton was violent and she feared what her family’s reaction would be.

Later that year they broke up.

But with a feeling of helplessness, friends and family worried she would eventually go back to Bretherton and she did.

By early 2011 the couple appeared to be trying to reconcile and intended to seek counselling.

Despite this, Bretherton was trawling dating websites and meeting other women.

Some of these relationships were purely sexual, but at least one was genuine.

It was with a younger woman who had tentatively gone online.

She met ‘‘Aussie Bob’’, as Bretherton called himself, and they agreed to meet in person.

He seemed nervous at first, but eventually opened up and they continued to see each other for a few months, she said.

For a man who couldn’t bring himself to attend Sunday tea with the Jurds, Bretherton was all of a sudden attending family functions with his new flame who could distinctly remember him engaging in conversation with her brothers.

It was perhaps the most damning evidence against Bretherton at the trial.

A man, who claimed he was on the autism spectrum, which he alleged reduced his culpability for the killing, was forming a healthy, loving relationship with another woman and doing the very things he claimed he was incapable of doing.

Bretherton called this new relationship off after about four months, but by then the woman was pregnant.

She later rang him and told him she’d had a miscarriage.

He was devastated.

He bought her flowers. He comforted her.

His reaction was in stark contrast to the way he had treated Jodie.

Throughout 2011 Jodie and Bretherton’s relationship fluctuated.

Friends who saw the text messages Jodie was receiving said they ranged from pleasant to abusive.

Despite their attempts to reconcile and plans to move out of the area together they proceeded to separate their property.

No one knows exactly what the couple fought about on the evening of November 16, 2011.

Bretherton had been drinking and there was paperwork in the house that suggested maybe they fought over the property settlement.

He had previously sent Jodie a message saying that if she did not sign the paperwork ‘‘your life won’t be worth living’’.

Neighbours had heard the couple fight before, but their last one was different.

There were banging noises and yelling before Jodie screamed.

A neighbour rang triple-0 before Bretherton himself did and police arrived at the scene minutes later. Bretherton was found kneeling over the body.

A knife was near Jodie’s feet.

Bretherton confessed to the stabbing immediately and his lawyers tried to convince a jury he was guilty only of manslaughter because of diminished responsibility.

A combination of stresses coupled with autism spectrum disorder and a major depressive illness lowered his culpability, reducing murder to manslaughter, they argued.

The jury must not have been impressed.

A decade of violence, control and manipulation was just too great to overcome.