FAMILY VIOLENCE: Joel Lewis Morley plead guilty to assaulting his mother and holding a knife to her friend.
FAMILY VIOLENCE: Joel Lewis Morley plead guilty to assaulting his mother and holding a knife to her friend. contributed

MERRY CHRISTMAS: Son threatens mum's life

A BUNDABERG man has narrowly escaped prison after he got drunk on home brew and threatened the lives of his family.

Joel Lewis Morley pleaded guilty on Monday at Bundaberg Magistrates Court to threatening the lives of his mother, family and his own after a history of abandonment and mental health issues came to a crux.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Macushla Pattinson said Morley was at his mother's place in Agnes Water on December 20 when holiday festivities spiralled out of control.

The mother told police she had invited him to stay in an attempt to reconcile their relationship.

"She stated that when she woke the next morning... there appeared to be friction between them," Sen Const Pattinson said.

"The defendant started drinking home-made alcohol which caused him to become angry and agitated."

The two then started yelling and fighting about past family issues.

"He continually berated her and threatened to kill her and the whole family," Sen Const Pattinson said.

"She states he also tried to burn the house down whilst inside."

The defendant became physically abusive and pushed her backwards where she fell against the TV cabinet injuring her back and hand.

The mother then contacted a friend who attempted, but failed, to diffuse the situation.

"This only enraged the defendant and he retrieved a knife from the kitchen and threatened himself," Sen Const Pattinson said.

The court heard Morley then entered the shed and returned with a rope around his neck, which his mother helped remove as it was restricting his breathing. The court heard the defendant had a lengthy history.

Defence lawyer Nick Larter said many of his client's problems stemmed from abandonment issues following his parents' separation when he was young.

"He adopted a habit of binge drinking to cope with the grief which set him up for an adult life of behaviour problems," Mr Larter said.

"Those grief issues manifested in angry and violent ways towards his mother and step-father."

Mr Larter said his client appeared to be a "reasonable young man" when not intoxicated and on his meds.

"When his mother revoked that invitation at Christmas time it set him off," he said.

"That reinforced those abandonment feelings he struggles with."

Magistrate Ross Woodford sentenced Morley on the common assault - domestic violence offence to six months in prison with immediate parole and fined him $600.



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