Man who strangled girlfriend overturns murder sentence

A man has overturned a 20-year jail sentence for murder after a court found delusions his girlfriend was a demon as he strangled her were the first onset of schizophrenia.

Jordan Brodie Miller took LSD 11 days before violently attacking and killing his partner Emerald Wardle at a home at Metford, in the NSW Hunter region, in June 2020.

He later told a triple-zero operator and police that he believed Ms Wardle was a demon at the time of the attack.

Miller was convicted of murder by a NSW Supreme Court jury in June 2022 and sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 13 years.

A key issue at the trial was whether he killed his girlfriend while experiencing symptoms of undiagnosed schizophrenia or drug-induced psychosis.

He appealed both the conviction and sentence, telling the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal that since the trial he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and his symptoms were ongoing.

On Friday, the court unanimously upheld the appeal saying the evidence was all "one way" that he had symptoms of schizophrenia when he killed Ms Wardle.

"The court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the applicant had a 'mental health impairment', as defined, namely schizophrenia, at the time he carried out the act of killing Ms Wardle," the three-judge panel wrote.

"Although he knew the nature and quality of his acts in causing the death of Ms Wardle, he did not know the act was wrong because of his psychotic delusion at the time."

Miller was found not criminally responsible for the killing.

His case will be sent to the Mental Health Review Tribunal, which will determine how and where he will be treated.

In overturning the conviction and lengthy jail sentence, the appeals court expressed sympathy towards Ms Wardle's family.

"The court acknowledges that the loss of Emerald Wardle has caused enormous pain to her family from which they will never recover," the judges wrote.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store