Rita Murphy was the victim of a brutal assault in May 2008.
Rita Murphy was the victim of a brutal assault in May 2008. Nev Madsen

Man bashes own mother, grandmother

TO most people $33,000 is a lot of money, but it hardly seems anywhere near enough for a victim of a brutal bashing like elderly Toowoomba woman Rita Murphy.

Mrs Murphy sustained horrific injuries at the hands of her own grandson Mark Orbell who bashed his mother and grandmother during a drug-induced frenzy at his grandmother’s Toowoomba home on May 6, 2008.

After barging his way into the home, Orbell had demanded money and when refused he had assaulted the two women, aged 76 and 51 at the time, before holding them against their will for an hour while refusing their pleas for medical help.

Mrs Murphy had been repeatedly punched and kicked, even after being knocked to the floor, and sustained multiple injuries including a broken nose, fractured cheek bone and jaw, various cuts that needed stitching, and bruising to most of her body.

She underwent facial surgery the following week, but the mental scars remain, Toowoomba District Court heard yesterday before which an application for criminal compensation was brought.

Referring to the application and Mrs Murphy’s victim impact statement, Judge Marshall Irwin noted the formerly happy-go-lucky senior citizen still had nightmares about the incident which she thought about every day.

In her statement, Mrs Murphy said she got anxious whenever she heard a car door close or a vehicle stop outside her home.

She had increased security at her home and curtailed her social activities to the point she no longer went bowling, the court heard.

Orbell, 24, in January last year, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm among other charges and was sentenced to five years jail.

However, taking into account he had already spent nine months in pre-sentence custody, sentencing Judge Helen O’Sullivan ordered he be eligible to apply for parole in January this year after a further 11 months behind bars.

Judge Irwin ruled against Orbell ordering he make criminal compensation of $33,000 to his grandmother.

Because most criminal compensation awards are made against offenders with little or no capacity to pay, the matter is usually referred to the authorities in the event the money would be paid from the “public purse”.

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