A man who savagely murdered his parents in their Watford-area home will spend at least the next 25 years behind bars, although the judge in the case says he hopes the killer never sees the outside of a prison.
Jeremy Gubbels recieved his automatic life sentence at the London courthouse on Thursday, after pleading guilty in April to the July, 2014 first degree murders of his father Mario and his mother Susan. He will have no chance of parole for 25 years.
Family and friends delivered victims impact statements before the sentence was read. The most powerful came from Gubbels' sister Amanda.
She was the first to discover the bloody scene in the Gubbels' home on Arkona Rd. near Watford after futile attempts at contact with her parents led her to drive to their house to investigate. She arrived at the home before police, and upon opening the door, saw “blood soaked hardwood” floor, something she says she will never forget.
Amanda Gubbels recounted the event, as well as her current suffering, in her video-recorded victim impact statement, which was presented before the court. She said she was left “heartbroken and lost” after her parents death and she desperately misses her “two best friends”.
Since the murders, she has been plagued by feelings of “anxiety and depression”, and says that she requires medication to help cope. Also, her relationship with her boyfriend has suffered due to her being “not as comfortable with intimacy” as she had previously been. She was also forced to take six months off of work, something she said prevented her from getting a promotion.
After detailing how the murders of her parents have affected her life, she turned her attention to her brother.
“You are not a good person,” she said to the man who killed her parents. “You are a coward. I hope you rot in jail.”
A letter she wrote to him ended with, "Farewell, former brother. I am letting you go.”
Victim impact statements were also submitted by Jeremy Gubbels' aunts and uncles.
Shirley and Patrick Gubbels recounted how Mario and Susan Gubbels had been there for them when they lost their son just ten months prior to the murder. They told the court that even though Mario and Susan were deeply loved and tragically missed, they were not going to hate their nephew for his crimes.
Shirley looked towards Gubbels and said, despite his crimes, “I do not hate you but I don't understand what you've done."
The judge was far less forgiving in his remarks. Justice Thomas Heeney called Gubbel’s the “true embodiment of evil." While the automatic life sentence does carry with it an eventual opportunity for parole, Justice Heeney told the court he believes Gubbels should never be released.
Following the hearing, the Gubbels family did not wish to speak with reporters. Instead, a statement written by Amanda Gubbels to read by Assistant Crown lawyer Elizabeth Maguire. In it, Amanda says that above all, that her parents be remembered for who they were, not for the way they died.
“My parents were wonderful and loving people. Their memory should not be tarnished by violence and hate but instead focus on the loss of two amazing individuals who were dedicated to their community, their children and their friends,” the statement says.
Gubbels’ statement also shared a glimpse into the relief she felt after the sentencing, but says that doesn’t heal the lifetime of “hurt and heartache” caused by her brother.
“I am glad justice has been served through court as much as possible, and am grateful my family was spared a long court process,” the statement says. “But these facts cannot come close to making up for the killing of my parents.”
Prior to sentencing, Gubbels was given the option to address the courtroom, but chose not to.
"He decided that there was nothing more that really could be said, so he declined,” said defence lawyer Ron Ellis.
The lack of comment from Gubbels also meant that no apology was offered to those affected by the murder, something which Ellis certainly noticed.
"He didn't say sorry, and perhaps, he'll reconsider that in the lengthy period of time he'll spend in custody,” said Ellis.
**This story was written by Samuel Gallant. Samuel is a student in the Fanshawe College broadcast journalism program. He is performing a summer internship with Blackburn News.**