The grief-stricken husband of a woman allegedly murdered while fending off two intruders has backed calls for an urgent overhaul to the youth justice system as he issued a desperate plea for politicians to act and follow through.
Mum-of-two Emma Lovell, 41, was allegedly stabbed to death by teenage intruders during a break-in outside her North Lakes home north of Brisbane late on Boxing Day.
The tragedy has sparked a wave of anger across Australia and calls for stricter bail conditions for young offenders – after it was revealed one of the two 17-year-olds charged with the alleged murder was out on bail for previous break-ins.
A petition calling for mandatory jail and no bail for armed and violent repeat home invaders is gaining momentum, with thousands of Australians pledging their support.
Ms Lovell’s shattered husband Lee, 43, who was also injured in the violent altercation, has bravely backed calls for a tougher crackdown and is ‘happy’ to support the petition.
He urged politicians to the fast-track legislation, dubbed ‘Emma’s Law’ in a powerful message read by family friend Chris Jones on Wednesday.
Lee Lovell (pictured with late wife Emma) has backed calls for a tougher crackdown
‘Although Emma’s passing has ripped our family apart, I just hope there will be a positive change to come from this,’ Mr Lovell wrote.
‘I am happy to back ‘Emma’s Law’, which is being promoted online. I urge the politicians who can make changes to do so and not just talk about it to gain votes for the next election, you need to act and follow the talking through.
‘Emma’s life will best be honoured by a positive change occurring, and laws changed.
‘We all have a right to be safe in our homes.’
The tragedy follows a string of incidents involving alleged teen juveniles across Queensland in recent days.
The Queensland government originally resisted calls of a shake-up before giving in mounting pressure on Thursday when a tougher crackdown on youth crime was announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Alleged car thieves will face more times behind bars if they steal cars while armed or at night or boast about it on social media under the new laws set to be introduced early next year.
The proposed tougher law reforms have been dubbed Emma’s Law in memory of Emma Lovell
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has acknowledged the ‘justifiable community outrage’ in response to Emma Lovell’s tragic death (pictured, locals pay tribute outside Emma’s home)
Queensland announces tough crackdown on youth crime
By Australian Associated Press
Queensland car thieves will face longer prison sentences, and more time if they steal cars while armed or at night or boast about it on social, under a fresh crackdown on youth crime following the alleged murder of a mother in her home.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will change the laws next year after British mother-of-two Emma Lovell was stabbed while defending her home from two teenagers on Boxing Day night.
Under the plan, car thieves will face 10 years behind bars, or 14 if they steal cars at night, threaten or use violence, are armed or pretend to be armed, are with others, or damage or threaten property.
Judges will also have to take into account a child offender’s previous bail history, crimes and track record when sentencing, and slap youth offenders with increased penalties if they boast about their crimes on social media.
‘Community safety has to come first here and we stand with the community members across Queensland,’ Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Thursday.
‘And I’ll tell you now, we know a lot of people aren’t going to like some of these announcements I’m making today and I’m going to stand by them, and people will be able to judge us on that at the next election.’
The government will also spend almost $10 million to speed up the sentencing of children before courts in Brisbane, Townsville, Southport and Cairns, and spend the same amount trailing 20,000 engine immobilisers in Townsville, Cairns and Mount Isa.
Ms Lovell’s killing comes 14 months into the government’s youth crime crackdown in which laws were changed to ensure courts made a presumption against bail for serious, repeat child offenders and have the power to fit them with GPS trackers.
More than 36,000 people have also signed a petition calling for mandatory bail refusal ‘violent home invaders who repeat offend that use or have weapons regardless of age’.
The calls for a crackdown on youth crime come after the Lovells eldest daughter Scarlett, 15, bravely ‘faced her fears’ by returning home on Wednesday.
Family friends Chris and Liz Jones brought Scarlett to the North Lakes home less than 48 hours after she and her sister Kassie, 13, witnessed the alleged attack.
Scarlett walked to the front door to collect a fruit plate left by a member of her distraught community before wandering across the lawn to look at touching notes and flowers left for her family.
The group spent a few emotional moments observing the tributes before walking back to the car, where Mrs Jones wrapped Scarlett in a hug as she broke down in tears.
The eldest daughter of Lee and Emma Lovell, Scarlett, ‘faced her fears’ by returning to the family’s North Lakes home after her mother was allegedly stabbed to death (pictured, the Lovell family)
Emma Lovell (pictured), 43, died on Boxing Day while trying to defend her home from intruders
An emotional Queensland opposition leader David Crisafulli visited the North Lakes family home on Wednesday to pay his respects to Emma Lovell
Speaking to media, Mr Jones said Scarlett had come to the home to ‘face her fears’ after witnessing the distressing alleged attack two days ago.’
He said the family, who have been staying with them, were ‘understandably devastated’ and have been going through mixed emotions as they continue to process the tragedy.
As the Lovell’s daughter arrived, Mr Jones exited the car first to inform media she was in the vehicle and ask for privacy as she spent time outside the home.
When the group prepared to leave, Scarlett graciously thanked reporters for respecting their wishes to refrain from taking photos.
Family friend of the Lovells, Chris Jones (pictured), brought daughter Scarlett back before returning in the afternoon to read a statement from Mr Lovell
Chris and Liz Jones (pictured) returned later in the afternoon to read a statement written by Mr Lovell on behalf of him, Scarlett and Kassie, 13
The couple were alerted to the presence of the intruders when their dogs started to bark and their home security system informed them their front door was opened.
‘It felt like it was over in like 30 seconds but they [the intruders] had run off and it really started to set in,’ an emotional Mr Lovell told A Current Affair.
‘We bolted to our bedroom door and opened it and two people were there. It was a major shock, it was terrifying to be honest.
He initially thought his wife was going to survive her severe injuries following the attack.
‘I thought she was, because [of] the work the paramedics were doing at the time. I know she didn’t have a pulse, then they said they got her pulse back.’
Paramedics who took Mr Lovell to hospital said his wife would be following.
But he recalled his ‘major shock’ hours later when he found out she did not survive.
Mr Lovell then had to deliver the heartbreaking news to his daughters after one of them asked, ‘where’s mummy?’
‘I said, ‘we need to talk’ and we both just broke down,’ Mr Lovell said, fighting back tears.
Scarlett (pictured left with her mum and sister) walked to the front door to collect a fruit plate left by a member of the community before wandering across the lawn to look at notes and flowers left for her family
Read Lee Lovell’s public plea to politicians about ‘Emma’s law’
‘I would like to thank the first responders who attended our house on Boxing Day evening, you arrived far quicker than I expected. Thank you for your professionalism even though the outcome wasn’t what we were hoping for.
‘I would like to thank Mercedes at the RBWH for being so caring and compassionate.
‘Also thank you to the North Lakes community for all your support. The community has been fantastic and has yet again come together to help. This needs to be separated from the criminals who have targeted the area recently.
‘These next few days are going to be very difficult for our family so we would appreciate some privacy at this time to allow us to grieve
‘Although Emma’s passing has ripped our family apart I just hope there will be a positive change to come from this.
‘I am happy to back ‘Emma’s Law’ which is being promoted online. I urge the politicians who can make changes to do so and not just talk about it to gain votes for the next election, you need to act and follow the talking through.
‘Emma’s life will best be honoured by a positive change occurring and laws changed.
‘We all have a right to be safe in our homes.’
While there have been discussions around youth crime in Brisbane, Mr Lovell added that the tragedy ‘needs to be separated from the others and the criminals who have targeted the area recently.’
Mr Lovell thanked the first responders who attended their house on Boxing Day, saying they ‘arrived far quicker than I expected.’
‘Thank you for your professionalism, even though the outcome wasn’t what we were hoping for,’ the Lovells said.
The Lovells also thanked Mercedes at Royal women’s Brisbane hospital ‘for being so caring and compassionate in such a difficult time’ and the North Lakes Community for their support.
Mr Lovell said the next few days ‘are going to be very, very difficult for our family’ and asked for the family’s privacy at this time.
Cleaners arrived at around the same time to clean up the mess left inside the home from the chaos that unfolded inside.
Over the past 48 hours, members of the community have continued to stop by the home to leave items and pay their respect.
Mr Jones, who moved from the UK to Australia like the Lovells, said about his hardworking daughters.
‘Everything for Emma and Lee was about giving their children the best life possible,’ he said.
‘They moved here to give them the best chances of success, and they had an incredible life here.’
‘Now, because of this tragedy, all of that has been undone.’
The Lovells had just returned from a Christmas trip to the Sunshine Coast when they allegedly discovered two intruders inside their Whitfield Crescent home about 11.30pm on Boxing Day.
Emergency services rushed to the scene, but despite their best efforts, Mrs Lovell died shortly after arriving at hospital.
Mr Lovell suffered non-fatal injuries and has since been released from hospital.
A grieving Mr Lovell thanked emergency first responders who arrived at the house, a nurse at Royal women’s Brisbane hospital and the North Lakes community
Bouquets of flowers were seen resting against a tree outside the Lovell’s North Lakes home
The family’s heartbreak comes after Daily Mail Australia revealed four boys arrested over the alleged home-invasion murder were living in a nearby halfway house that accommodates youth offenders – and had been causing trouble in the weeks leading up to the tragedy.
Police confirmed yesterday that all four teenagers were ‘known to police’.
One of the two juveniles charged with murder was on bail for a break-in and receiving stolen property when the tragedy occurred.
Just days before Ms Lovell was allegedly murdered, one of the teens posted footage of himself and others driving allegedly stolen luxury cars.
The group recorded themselves speeding at up to 190km/hour before posing in front of an Audi and a Porsche while throwing up gang signs.
Neighbour Tracey said different boys and girls would move out of the halfway house every few weeks.
One of the youths allegedly involved in the home invasion posted this photo to social media
The group posted footage of themselves speeding up to 90km/h in allegedly stolen luxury cars
She said her family were not told that the home would be used as a living facility for juvenile offenders when it was bought by a charity organisation in May 2021.
Over the past 18 months, they have witnessed cops repeatedly storming into the home, heard skirmishes in the street and smelt drugs wafting over their back fence.
‘We sometimes smell them smoking marijuana, and hear them drinking out the back,’ she said.
‘One group, we could hear them bragging about a car. Some looked as young as 13. None of them have had cars, so we’d always see them walking around the neighbourhood.’
Two 17-year-olds- from Zillmere and Holland Park- have been charged with murder and attempted murder while police continue to question two other boys, aged 16 and 17.
Pictured is a map showing where the halfway house is located just a few doors down from the Lovell family home
Two 17-year-old boys have been charged with murder and attempted murder over the home invasion. They faced Brisbane Children’s court on Wednesday
Meanwhile, tributes have continued to flow online for Mrs Lovell, who ran a local ironing service, as she is remembered as a ‘beautiful person’ by devastated loved ones.
Mr Lovell told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday his wife had been the ‘glue’ in their family.
‘She was funny, smart, so caring, would do anything for anyone,’ he said.
‘She died trying to protect me and our family. We’re all devastated by what has happened. I miss her so much.’
The alleged attack has renewed calls for the Queensland government to crack down on youth offending.
The two 17-year-old boys, who have also been charged with enter a dwelling with intent, faced Brisbane Children’s court on Wednesday.
They have been remanded in custody to next front court on January 16.