James Morton Mason: Man Who Set Fatal Fire Loses Appeal Bid

James Morton Mason, the man who brutally murdered his partner Alexis Parkes by setting fatal fire to her home in a horrific act of domestic violence loses in his attempt to overturn his conviction on appeal.

Alexis Parkes
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James Morton Mason was sentenced to life in prison in December 2022 after being found guilty by a jury of the callous murder of 50-year-old Parkes. On Tuesday, the Brisbane Court of Appeal dismissed Mason’s claims that there were errors in how the trial judge instructed the jury.

The harrowing details presented at trial were that in February 2020, after an argument with Parkes, Mason deliberately set fire to a car parked under her home in Chermside while she was inside. He then watched as the flames engulfed the house, trapping the defenseless Parkes.

Despite bystanders’ frantic efforts to rescue her, Parkes suffered catastrophic burns to 80% of her body. The mother of four endured unimaginable agony before succumbing to multiple organ failure just four days later when her life support was withdrawn.

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Photo Credit: Facebook / Zoey Kramar

Mason’s unconscionable actions robbed four children of their mother in the most painful way imaginable. Yet at his appeal, his lawyer Sally Robb incredibly tried to argue the jury was not adequately informed on whether Mason meant to kill Parkes or just cause her grievous bodily harm.

However, the Appeal Court judges ruled the jury was properly instructed, with Justice Philip Morrison writing the defence’s position “was simply and clearly put” at trial. Mason’s murderous intent was laid bare by his shocking disregard for human life as he watched his partner’s home become an inferno.

This ruling confirms that Mason’s despicable crime met the highest legal standard of guilt for murder. While nothing can undo this unspeakable tragedy, the judges’ dismissal of his appeal provides a small measure of justice for Parkes and her loved ones.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please contact 1800 RESPECT for support and services, or call 000 if you are in immediate danger.

Published 4-June-2024