An Australian was found guilty on Thursday of drowning his three young sons to get the “delicious reward” of telling his ex—wife they were dead.
A Melbourne jury found Robert Farquharson deliberately drove his car into a pond while taking them home after a Father’s Day access visit treat at a fast—food restaurant in 2005.
The 40—year—old swam to the bank, leaving 10—year—old Jai, seven—year—old Tyler and two—year—old Bailey to drown.
Farquharson pleaded not guilty in the retrial, as he had done in his initial 2007 trial. The verdict in the first trial was quashed and a retrial ordered.
The case captivated Australians, as his estranged wife Cindy Gambino initially stood by his argument that the deaths were an accident.
She had described Farquharson as a model father and related how he cried when she gave him a framed photograph of his children the morning he called to pick them up for what proved to be their last outing.
Prosecutor Andrew Tinney told the jury that Farquharson’s anger at his wife leaving him prompted “an almost unspeakable act of vengeance” to get the “delicious reward” of seeing his ex—wife hurt.
“In this case, in the end, your head, members of the jury, will clearly and strongly tell you something that your heart may not want to believe,” he said.
Police testified that the car was steered off the highway, across a field and into the pond at 80 kilometres per hour. It was found with its headlights and ignition switched off and the keys removed.
Farquharson, who claimed he had had a coughing fit and blacked out, said he tried to save his children from drowning.
After saving himself, Farquharson walked back to the highway, flagged down a car and insisted on being driven to Gambino’s house to tell her what had happened rather than try again to retrieve the boys.
Police speculated that the car floated for some time, only sinking to the bottom when the driver’s side door was opened and Farquharson got out of the vehicle.