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Woman jailed for attempted murder in Brisbane aged care home

A woman who tried to kill her elderly father on his request by suffocating him in a nursing home north of Brisbane acted “impulsively” in a moment of poor judgment, a court has been told.

Rebecca Louise Burden last week pleaded guilty at Brisbane Supreme Court to a single count of attempted murder.

A small group of family members and supporters wished Burden well as the 47-year-old was led away to begin her sentence of five years’ jail.

However, she will be eligible for parole in May next year after a Supreme Court judge took into account her mitigating factors.

Burden’s 68-year-old father, who had a brain injury and dementia, was being cared for at an aged care centre in Sandgate, north of Brisbane, at the time of the offence on September 26, 2020.

The court was told during a visit at the end of Covid-19 restrictions, Burden’s father told his daughter “please just kill me”.

She attempted to smother him with a pillow for 25 to 30 seconds.

Burden relented after her father began kicking out and she then informed nurses of what she had done.

“You said repeatedly: ‘What have I done? Am I going to jail?” Justice Soraya Ryan said.

Ryan said Burden was genuinely remorseful, which was the reason for a more lenient sentence.

The court was told Burden had a “difficult” childhood and had problems with alcohol, which she used as a “crux” through her life.

At the time, Burden’s father was having intrusive thoughts about taking his own life.

“You exercised very poor judgment and impulsively tried to kill him,” Ryan said.

“Your father has no memory of your visit, nor the event. He has no voice here.”

Ryan took into account Burden’s fragile emotional state and her attempts to take her own life in the context of several family stressors.

Burden was sentenced to five years’ jail, with parole eligibility within 10 months.

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