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Sydney man jailed for life for killing family

world Updated: Mar 11, 2009 10:48 IST

AP
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A judge called an Australian man a "brilliant actor" on Wednesday and sentenced him to life in prison for killing his family 16 years ago.

Jeffrey Gilham, a 39-year-old civil engineer, had admitted in 1995 to fatally stabbing his brother in their parents' waterfront home in 1993. But Gilham had told a court that he had been enraged because his 25-year-old sibling had confessed to slaying their parents, Helen Gilham, 55, and Steven Gilham, 58, whose bodies were also found in the house.

Gilham pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1995 but escaped a prison sentence.

Gilham has been fighting a legal battle against prosecutors since 2000 when a coroner investigating his parents' deaths recommended murder charges.

A New South Wales state Supreme Court jury found in November last year that Gilham had murdered his parents.

Judge Roderick Howie on Wednesday described Gilham as "a consummate liar and a brilliant actor." Howie sentenced him to the toughest available sentence for a crime in Australia: life in prison without possibility of parole.

Howie said Wednesday the reason Gilham killed his family will never be known.