Transcript: 185. The Kapunda Triple Murder | Australia

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It was a warm night in the late spring of 2010, when the intruder found himself inside the Rowe family home on Harriet Street, Kapunda. He had broken in through the bathroom window and stood behind a shower curtain in the bathtub for a while, leaving footprints that would later help police in their investigation.

 

16-year-old Chantelle was not feeling well and had gone to bed early on Sunday night the 7th of November. She had a cold and knew she was too sick to go to her waitering job the next morning. Her boyfriend sent a text at 5:30am to check on her, but never received a reply. What he didn’t realise was that Chantelle and her parents had suffered a brutal attack in the early morning hours. The house was suffocating in silence, waiting for someone to discover the blood-soaked scene that was a happy family home, until that frightful night.

 

>>Intro Music

Kapunda is a small town of about 3000 people north of Adelaide, South Australia. Once a thriving metal mining town, it has become more of a tourist attraction, and is probably better known for the nearby wine region of The Barossa Valley. 

 

People who choose to live in Kapunda, prefer the peace and quiet of a rural town to the hustle and bustle of the city. Most people know each other and look out for one another. The city of Adelaide is only about an hour’s drive away, but for the most part people in Kapunda and its surrounding villages are content with country life. 

 

Being a teenager in a small town can have its challenges: there’s not that much to do and for the most part, it’s all about making friends and hanging out together. 16-year-old Chantelle Rowe was a popular, fun-loving teen. She had an older brother Christopher and their parents Andrew and Rose loved spending time with their grown children. They had moved to Kapunda from Adelaide in the mid-2000s and rented a house on Harriet Street. Andrew owned a carpet cleaning business and the family quickly settled into their new lifestyle. 

 

The family were well-liked in town and were known as good people. Andrew, who migrated to Australia from England when he was only two years old, was always jovial, and his sisters described him to be a typical Australian larrikin-type. He loved socialising and spending time with his friends: going fishing or lighting up a barbecue. Andrew met the equally vivacious Rosie through her brother and the couple married in the early 1980s. Their son Christopher was born in 1987, and daughter Chantelle came in 1994. 

 

In 2010, Christopher moved out, but was still very much part of his family. He lived around the corner from his parents’ house, with his girlfriend. As Chantelle, or Channy as she was affectionately known, grew up, it was clear to see she had inherited her parents’ people skills. She was outgoing and sociable and had many friends. Her aunt recalled that Chantelle got upset when other kids were bullied and always stood up for them. 

 

Besides attending school, Chantelle played netball and her parents went to watch her games every Saturday at South Gawler Football/Netball Club. Sometimes her aunt, Andrew’s sister Sue Mahoney, would also stop by, and everyone could see they were a close and caring family. 

 

In October 2010 Chantelle took a waitering job at Café de Vine, in the town of Nuriootpa, about a 20-minute drive from Kapunda. She stayed at a friend’s house for a couple of nights, while she tried to work out the commute. According to her older brother, Christopher, Chantelle couldn’t wait to turn 18. Before he left for a holiday in Queensland, he promised her that he would teach her to drive as soon as he returned. 

 

Chantelle had many friends and loved her boyfriend, Dylan Pratt. They spent a lot of time together, and she became friends with his friends too. When Chantelle’s parents, Andrew and Rose told her they were going to Adelaide on Saturday night the 6th of November, she invited a couple of friends over to her house. Things were quite mellow, it wasn’t a party or anything, it was more of a get-together. They had a couple of drinks and watched movies, and some of her friends stayed the night.

 

The next morning when Andrew and Rose returned, there were still some party guests from the night before. And in true style, Andrew fired up the barbecue and they all had a lovely Sunday lunch together. As the day went on, Chantelle began to feel unwell. She had a cold and knew there was no way around it: she needed an early night and to take the Monday off from work. She sent a text message to her new boss to inform him that she would not be coming in. 

 

Sadly, Chantelle would never make it in to work again. On Monday morning the 8th of November 2010 local police were called when someone discovered a horrific murder scene inside the Rowe family home. The small town of Kapunda only had two full-time police officers. There had never been a murder in the town before that day, and starting an investigation was a daunting task for the two police officers. The first responding officer called an ambulance, and paramedics soon after, confirming all three residents of the home was deceased. Local police realised the magnitude of the situation, and the South Australian Police Service was called in to help. Major Crime detective John Keane recalled arriving at the scene on Harriet Street:

 

“It looked like a slaughterhouse. We first viewed it from outside. There was just blood everywhere in that place – in Chantelle’s room, down the hallway, in the kitchen, all of the back room… It was on floors, walls… just everywhere.”

 

Forensic investigators made their way through the grisly scene: blood covered the floor, the walls and even the ceiling. Andrew and Rose’s bodies were found in the kitchen and Chantelle was in her bedroom. They had all been stabbed multiple times. The killer had tried to clean up but gave up – there was simply too much blood. He left the scene without his shoes, wearing only socks.

 

At first glance, it looked like a senseless crime, committed for no reason at all. Nothing was missing from the home, in fact computers, cameras and cell phones were all accounted for. It did not have the typical signs of a burglary-gone-wrong. Sadly, when multiple members of a family are found deceased in their home, one of the first things investigators have to ascertain, is whether it was a case of murder-suicide. However, the placement of the bodies would have made it impossible for any one of the three to have killed the other two. 

 

The only family member NOT present in the house at the time of the murder was Chantelle’s brother, Christopher. He was on holiday in Queensland with his fiancée, enjoying some sunshine. He saw that something had happened on his street on social media, and immediately wrote a post, asking anyone in Kapunda if they could check in on his family. At first, one of his friends told him everything was okay. But sadly the person was mistaken.

 

As soon as Christopher heard that his father, mother and sister had been murdered, he made his way back home. Despite his state of severe shock and grief, he agreed to be questioned by police. Investigators knew fairly soon that he was not involved in the crime in any way, shape or form. Firstly, he was two states away at the time of the murders. Also, he co-operated as much as he could and assured the police, he had no idea who would want to harm his family. The community rallied around Christopher and supported him as he came to terms with losing his parents and sister all in one night. 

 

A brutal crime like this triple family murder is not at all common in a place like Kapunda.  Local residents were terrified. A well-loved family was slaughtered within their own home – anyone could be next. Everyone locked their doors and kept tabs on each other, fearing that the killer could still be among them. Police feared that the crime was random, which would make it much more difficult to find the killer. 

 

There was a sense of panic in the entire region, and some stores in town shut their doors, while the local high school did what they could to support Chantelle’s friends. Because there was no obvious suspect or a clear motive, speculation was rife. People tried to understand why something like this happened, and gossip about the Rowe family floated around town. 

 

Because Andrew owned a motorbike, some townspeople speculated that he was a bikey – that is Australian slang for a member of a biker gang. If he associated with other bikeys, perhaps the murders were drug related. However, this could not have been further from the truth. Yes, Andrew owned a bike, but he had no affiliation to any gang or group. It was a hobby, and he occasionally went for solo rides on the country roads around Kapunda.

 

Another story that emerged, was that 16-year-old Chantelle was pregnant. Sticky beaks chewed over the possibility that this could have been a motive for murder somehow. This rumour went far and wide and some newspapers even printed it as a fact. Fortunately, investigators didn’t entertain idle gossip, and kept their attention on the facts. 

 

Police knocked on all doors, and spoke to neighbours and other residents of Kapunda, hoping to find any information. One neighbour heard Rose screaming ‘help’ three times shortly after 1am, followed by the sound of ‘someone falling to the floor’ and then Andrew screamed before there was total silence. The medical examiner confirmed that this is more or less when the murders occurred. 

 

The autopsy results proved that Chantelle was not pregnant. It also revealed the extent of brutality the victims had suffered. Andrew had 29 stab wounds and Rose a staggering 50. The tip of a knife was lodged in Andrew’s skull, and another piece of the knife was found in Rose’s skull tissue. The angle of stab injuries to her back proved that Rose was crawling away from her attacker on her hands and knees as he continued stabbing her. Chantelle was stabbed 33 times, and sadly, she was also sexually assaulted. Whether this occurred while she was still alive could not be established. 

 

Semen found at the scene yielded a DNA profile, but police kept this quiet. Out of respect for Chantelle’s family, they also held on to the information about the rape at that point in the investigation. They did, however, appeal to the public for help: if anyone was acting out of the ordinary, or had said anything suspicious, locals were encouraged to contact police. 

 

And they did. An anonymous person called the Crime Stoppers hotline and said that a friend had posted on Facebook that he had done something terrible and he didn’t know how he would be able to live with himself. This person lived near the Rowe family, and police were eager to learn more about him. The man was taken in for questioning, and seemed confused, but calm. He insisted that he hardly knew the Rowe family and denied any involvement in the triple murder. When asked about his suggestive Facebook post, he told police that he was referring to a domestic dispute. Police were able to rule him out as a suspect.

 

With no other leads coming in, the investigation was back to square one. Police set out to establish a timeline of the week leading up to the murders, to learn if anything significant had taken place in the Rowe family’s circle. As we’ve mentioned before: Christopher was on vacation, and police were confident he had nothing to do with the murders. They also explored Chantelle’s relationship with Dylan, but by all accounts, they had a wholesome and healthy relationship. They trusted each other and had many friends together. Andrew and Rose liked Dylan and there did not seem to be any conflict. He loved Chantelle and had no reason to have wanted her dead. He was not considered a suspect and helped police in any way he could.

 

Chantelle had started her new job that week, but again, there were no issues. She spent some time at a friend’s house, staying over a couple of nights, because it was closer to work. She listed her friend’s address as her own on her job application, but that was for practical reasons, nothing else. 

 

Andrew had a normal work week, and nothing at his work was suspicious or out of the ordinary. And the same went for Rose. They were looking forward to their night out in Adelaide, on the Saturday night before the murders. 

 

Back in Kapunda, Chantelle hosted a get-together, but it was low-key and nothing strange took place. Police interviewed everyone who attended the party, including Chantelle’s boyfriend Dylan. He spoke openly and gave them a list of names of friends who were at the Rowe’s house that night. All of Chantelle’s friends were co-operative and gave investigators access to their social media pages, so they could grow to understand the dynamic within the circle of friends.

 

Dylan sent Chantelle a text message as soon as he woke up at 5:30am on Monday morning, asking if she was feeling any better, seeing as she was unwell the night before. He never received a reply. However, police determined that a reply was sent, but because Chantelle was out of credit on her phone, it never went through. This information was unsettling, seeing as Chantelle was no longer alive at the time, which means it was most likely the killer who typed the message, in an attempt to keep her boyfriend at bay.

 

In processing the crime scene police also found Chantelle’s laptop. There had been a failed log in attempt in the early hours of 8 November. There was blood on the keyboard, but frustratingly, there wasn’t enough to obtain DNA evidence from the smears. Forensic investigators had also found a fingerprint on the back of Chantelle’s bedroom door, but with no print to match it to, it was not very helpful at the time. 

 

Five days after the murders, police learnt that the medical examiner was able to obtain a DNA profile from semen on Chantelle’s body. It wasn’t her boyfriend’s. It did not match anyone in the police database, but it was a solid starting point.

 

Detectives visited all of Chantelle’s male friends and asked them to provide DNA samples, which they all did. When asked for his fingerprints, one of her friends made a curious statement: he provided an alibi for himself and complained that he did not have a girlfriend. He also mentioned that he was not invited to the get-together at Chantelle’s house the Saturday night before the murders. All of this seemed somewhat out of the blue, an over-explanation, and investigators wondered if the young man was trying to hide something.

 

When they took his fingerprints, police noticed multiple deep cuts on his hands and arms. With so many stab wounds inflicted in the commission of the crime, it would have been impossible for the killer to escape without injuring himself. So, when officers noticed the cuts on the young man’s hands, alarm bells went off at a deafening volume. When asked about it, he claimed that he had fallen off his bike. He did not seem stressed and co-operated without reservation, so at that point in time police had no reason NOT to believe him. However, the results from the DNA testing proved that he was not telling the truth. 

 

18-year-old Jason Downie’s DNA sample matched the DNA from the semen at the crime scene. Police were determined to arrest him as soon as they could but had to consider some factors. He lived with his family, and they did not want to risk a confrontation that could lead to more bloodshed. They also did not want to arrest him at work and risk the possibility of him escaping before they could detain him. So, in a town where people call each other on their first names, police telephoned the manager of the auto shop where Downie worked and asked him if he could bring Downie in to sign a statement. As soon as they arrived at the police station, Jason Downie was placed under arrest. 

 

At first, he denied any involvement in the murders and said he barely knew Chantelle Rowe. But after a conversation with his mother, who pleaded with him to tell the truth, he admitted that he actually knew Chantelle very well. In fact, he had been to her house as many as 40 or 50 times. He also walked her home from school everyday. He claimed that he had consensual sex with Chantelle the night before her murder. However, the evidence proved otherwise. 

 

Downie agreed to assist police and told them where he had disposed of the clothes he wore at the time of the murders. He also showed them where he had dumped the murder weapons, but it was no longer there. He reckoned someone must have taken it, but police concluded that Downie had lied about the location. Either way, to this day the weapons have never been recovered. 

 

When news of Downie’s arrest broke, everyone was stunned. The 18-year-old trainee mechanic was a scrawny, non-descript young guy. In fact, he was the last type of person police were looking for. The attack on the Rowe family was so ferocious, that the assumption was the killer was a large male, or that there may even have been two perpetrators. Downy weighed in at 52 kilograms (that’s only a 114 pounds). He had no history of violence, no substance abuse problems and although he had a volatile relationship with his mother, he was very fond of her and was close to his family. There were no indicators pointing to the possibility that this unremarkable teen could be a triple murderer.

 

Jason Alexander Downie, a high school friend of Chantelle’s boyfriend Dylan, was 14 when he moved to Australia from Kilmarnock, Scotland with his mother Lorna and brother Jamie in 2006. His birth certificate did not list the name of his father, and before his mother married his Australian stepfather, he did not have a father figure in his life. On Facebook, Downie wrote posts like:

 

“Love my family in Scotland, haven’t seen them for six years.”

 

And also:

 

“I grew up without a dad since I was two months old, so I have been raised up by my mum all my life … I respect and love her to death, even though we have our bad moments.”

 

The skinny lad was somewhat awkward, but at the same time appeared to be overly confident. He was vocal on social media, making no secret of the fact that he hated the town of Kapunda – in fact, he called it ‘Krapunda’. He boasted about being athletic and popular with girls, making statements like: 

 

“I love my sport; I am very active on and off the basketball court if you know what I mean...”

 

His Facebook status also noted that he was in a relationship. However, he did not have a girlfriend. Instead, he was pining for Chantelle, who was dating Dylan.

 

Over time Jason Downie became more and more infatuated with Chantelle. Chantelle was nice to him, not because she actually liked him, but because he was friends with Dylan. In a small town, one does not want to make enemies, so she kept things polite, even when she became aware of the fact that he was interested in her. She never hinted that she was in the least interested in him and he read more into every smile and kind word than she ever meant. Dylan was quietly amused by Jason’s crush, and knew Chantelle would never cheat on him, so it didn’t concern him too much. In fact, he felt kind of sorry for the young Scotsman, who – despite his bravado – did not actually have many friends. Dylan took Jason under his wing, even though he could be a bit annoying at times, he tolerated him.

 

What the well-intentioned Dylan did not realise, was that his friend had become darkly obsessed with his girlfriend. Chantelle didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, but in going through her phone and social media, investigators found out that Downie was pestering her on Facebook. But his stalking didn’t stay online, he also drove passed her house, and was always close-by, hounding her when she walked home from school. Chantelle endured his unwanted advances for Dylan’s sake. Sadly Dylan did not know the extent of Downie’s onslaught. Downie’s crush grew into infatuation, then became an obsession which morphed into resentment and ultimately ended in unforgiving anger. 

 

On the night of the murders, Downie spoke to Dylan and heard that Chantelle had a cold and was not going to work the next day. He later lied to police and said he went to the Rowe home to confront Dylan, assuming he would be there. However, Dylan told police that he had spoken to Jason Downie earlier that night, and Downie knew Chantelle had gone to bed because she was feeling unwell, and he also knew that Dylan was not with her. He took the opportunity to break into the Rowe’s home to go and see Chantelle. How the massacre that followed came about, only he will know for sure. 

 

The next day, with the blood of three innocent people on his hands, Downie went to work as per usual. When co-workers asked about injuries on his hands and arms, he said that he had fallen off his bicycle the day before. He would tell the same lie to police. However, he told his friends that he had injured himself at work. At work, he feigned shocked when news of the triple murder broke. He took the rest of the day off, saying that Chantelle was a close friend and he was too distraught to work. 

 

As police looked into Downie’s background, they learnt that he was not much liked at all. Friends and basketball teammates accepted him, but that was partially because they lived in a small town, and they realised he had no one else to hang out with. His co-workers were also not overly fond of him, mainly due to his awkward manner. Dylan recalled that Downie had only been in Chantelle’s house once, and that was with him. Chantelle’s parents greeted him, but that was it. He didn’t even go into the house. So saying he had been there many times before was a blatant lie. 

 

After the murders he went to Dylan’s house to sympathise, along with some other friends. Dylan recalled that Downie was quieter than his usual boastful self, but then again, all of their friends were in shock, and people deal with tragic situations in their own way. For the most part, Downie did what he could to keep up appearances. 

 

Five days after the murders, while a TV news camera crew was filming a memorial outside the Rowe home, Jason Downie entered the shot, laying a gift among the other tributes from friends and family. He was seen walking along the fence and looking at flowers and cards before walking off. The fact that he kept his composure and seemed every bit like just another friend showing respect is chilling in hindsight. What was going through his mind as he stood there, looking at the outpouring of grief from people who loved the Rowe family?

 

Shortly after that, days after the murder, Downie attended his work Christmas party and photos show him smiling and having a good time. Nothing about his behaviour would hint at the fact that he was a cold-blooded killer. 

 

Once in police custody, Downie was charged with the triple murder and was on remand for a year before the case made it to trial. He maintained his innocence, which meant police had to build an strong case against him. During his time in the remand centre, Downie told his mother and brother that he was innocent and that the killer was an unknown man in dark clothing carrying a green plastic bag. He wrote a letter to his mom, admitting that he had been in the Rowe home, but when he arrived the attack had already occurred. This is an exert from his letter:

 

“I saw Chantelle’s feet under the bed … she was alive, I put her in bed… She had cuts everywhere … She said ‘help’ and she died in my arms. I fucked up, mum, I’m sorry, I should have rung the police.”

 

Investigators were obliged to follow up on this story, fearing the case could end up in a mistrial. To prevent that from happening, police worked tirelessly to make their case watertight. They knew physical evidence would ultimately be the strongest. Firstly, the clothing found at the location identified by Downie, was stained with blood of all three his victims. The shoes matched the prints left in the bathtub at the Rowe home.

 

Investigators also found a digital camera on the kitchen bench at the crime scene. They went through the last photos – all were taken during the impromptu Sunday lunch, the day of the murders. In the photos, Chantelle has a lanyard around her neck, with a USB drive attached to it. The USB was found in Jason Downie’s bedroom at his mother’s house and the lanyard was in his car. A forensic search of the vehicle also found traces of blood from Andrew and Rose Rowe inside his car, on the dashboard. 

 

During the trial, held at South Australian Supreme Court Downie’s lawyer claimed that his young client had no recollection of the murders, or even how he ended up in the house. Downie showed no emotion in court, no remorse, nothing, with some reports referring to him as stone-faced. His lawyer, Greg Mead said this about his ‘passive almost weedy looking’ client’s actions:

 

"It was as if superhuman forces were unleashed within him. The explanation it seems is as old as humanity itself ... it is ordinary, unremarkable jealousy. Faced with resistance from Andrew and Rose Rowe, he seems to have lost total control … he obviously went completely berserk that night.”

 

In the end, Jason Downie shocked everyone when he pleaded guilty to all three murders, a year after the process against him had begun. A guilty plea meant that there would not have to be a trial, and no jury was called. The judge had to consider the evidence and sentence him. A recorded phone conversation between Downie and his brother, while Downie was on remand, showed that his pleading guilty was part of a legal strategy, NOT because he felt any remorse. He said:

 

“Fuck, if I plead not guilty and I’m found guilty, which my lawyer reckons would happen, I would never be released.”

 

The prosecution presented the case, and based on crime scene and other supporting evidence, they were able to construct what took place inside the Rowe family home that Sunday night.

 

Jason Downie had a heated argument with his mother and she asked him to leave. At around 11pm he drove off and went to a place he had become very familiar with. He had been stalking and pestering Chantelle Rowe for months, and yet again found himself outside her family home on Harriet Street. But this time, he went inside. He waited a while and eventually walked onto the property, where he entered the house through the bathroom window. He stood in the bathtub behind a shower curtain for a while, listening, making sure no one was awake. 

 

His first victim was Chantelle. One can only assume what took place in her bedroom, as a lecherous Downie entered. Because the stabbings were committed using a knife from the Rowe’s kitchen, it is implied that he went to her room, with the knife, and possibly threatened her. 

 

Chantelle’s parents must have heard the commotion and rushed over to help their daughter. However, even a man of Andrew Rowe’s size and strength stood no chance against the diabolical attack launched by Jason Downie. Altogether the crazed teen inflicted 112 stab wounds on his three victims.

 

Once Andrew and Rose were no longer able to protect their daughter, Downie returned to Chantelle’s room. She was still alive but severely wounded, hiding under her bed, and must have heard her parents fighting for their lives. Drag marks in her blood show that he dragged her out from under the bed, raped her, stabbed her again. Whether she was conscious, or even alive at the time could not be established. Then he stripped her clothing and redressed her in clean clothes. Chantelle died knowing that both her parents had been viciously killed.

 

From the position in which their bodies were found, and blood evidence, forensic examiners of the scene concluded that, while Downie attempted to clean up the scene, mopping the floor around the bodies of Andrew and Rose, he also stabbed both of them again, even though they were already deceased at the time. 

 

A neighbour heard a scream for help at 1am. A reply was sent to Dylan from Chantelle’s phone at 5:30am. Blood evidence on Chantelle’s laptop shows that he also tried to log on. Downie spent the quiet early morning hours inside the blood-soaked Rowe family home, puttering around Chantelle’s room and attempting to clean up the scene in the kitchen before leaving the scene, wearing only his socks. A couple of hours later, he clocked in for work.

 

As evidence of the brutal attack became public knowledge, the remaining Rowe family learnt what happed to their loved ones for the first time. The prosecutor did warn them about certain aspects, but nothing could have prepared them for the horrific truth. When they heard that Downie sexually assaulted Chantelle after he had stabbed her, one of them called out:

 

“You gutless bastard!”

 

All-up, 20 witness impact statements were read in court, while Downie listened without showing any emotion. Justice Sulan [Soo-lan] concluded that it was Downie’s obsession with Chantelle that led him to the Rowe house that night, hoping that he could have sex with her, but Chantelle did not consent. Justice Sulan said:

 

 "The cold-blooded, merciless attack upon Chantelle – who was hiding under the bed in fear and who you dragged out, stabbed, sexually assaulted and then stabbed again and murdered – was a chilling act…The circumstances of what occurred are chilling and they are all the more chilling because you do not exhibit any of the criminological characteristics of many people who come before these courts."

 

Although Downie wrote a letter of apology to the Rowe family, no words can ever undo what he did. The letter is hand-written, and somewhat juvenile in tone. Circles dot his i’s and if one looks at it at first, you might think it was written by a teenage girl, apologising for stealing lipstick. Here is what it said:

 

To all the friends and family of Chantelle Andrew and Rosemary Rowe. First of all I would like to apologise for my recent actions on November 8th 2010. From the bottom of my heart I'm deeply sorry for my actions. I have heard a lot of people for what I've done. I know no matter what my sentence I might get, it will never be enough. I have caused so much pain not only in my family but many others. I know this apology may not mean a lot to a lot of people. I feel that I have to say sorry as this whole situation is eating me alive. I had a career, a car, friends and most importantly I had my family. Now due to my recent actions I have nothing, and as much as I hate to say it, I deserve anything and everything that is going to happen to me. I take full responsibility for my actions. I would also like to apologise to the brother of the victims Christopher oh. I can't imagine what he would be feeling as I as he lost the most important people in his life. I want you to know that if I could turn back time my wrongdoings I would do it in an instant, but unfortunately, I can't. So once again I sincerely apologise for my actions from the bottom of my heart, I'm truly sorry.

 

It is signed: J. Downie 20 January 2011.

 

In the end, he received a life sentence with a 35-year non-parole period. Had he not pleaded guilty, it would have been 42 years. Justice Sulan, who had to discount seven years off his sentence for pleading guilty, expressed his disdain:

 

“You seem to have been in denial. Your pleas only came after it was clear the evidence against you was overwhelming. It is clear the Rowe family was a very loved family and your crime has had – and will continue to have – lasting effects on all of them."

 

Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Pallaras, QC said:

 

“We have a vicious killing, followed by a vicious killing, followed by a vicious killing… There is only one man who knows why he wreaked such vengeance on this family and, to this day, he has not given those details to police. There are many questions within this case as to what happened inside that house … one of the biggest regrets is that they will remain unanswered.”

 

Jason Downie will be 55 years old when he is eligible for release. As a British citizen, he could be deported back to Scotland at the end of his sentence. The Rowe family’s loved ones see Downie as a self-serving and unrepentant individual. Although he pleaded guilty, he left many questions unanswered. Did he go to Harriet Street that night with the intention to kill? Or was his intention only to rape Chantelle? Or did he somehow think it was a romantic gesture and that Chantelle would consent to having sex with him? Andrew and Rose fought with their lives to save their daughter. 

 

Sadly, that night, the evil within Downie, was the stronger force – and Christopher, their family and friends will never have the pleasure of a warm welcome at Andrew and Rose’s home, ever again.

 

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