The husband of the Queensland woman who died following an alleged home invasion has recalled the terrifying moment his family was torn apart, and how he told his teenage daughters of their mum's tragic death.
Lee Lovell, 43, and his wife, 41-year-old Emma Lovell, were at their North Lakes home on Boxing Day when it's alleged two armed teens entered their home. Ms Lovell was reportedly stabbed in the chest following a scuffle with the alleged intruders and later died in hospital.
The couple were inside their bedroom at around 11:30pm when they heard an alert from their home security system, which triggered barking from their dogs. Mr Lovell opened the bedroom door to find two people armed with knives, it's been claimed. In an attempt to defend their home, a fight broke out on the Lovell's front porch before the alleged intruders took off on foot.
Mr Lovell convinced his wife would survive
Two 17-year-old males have been since been charged with murder, attempted murder and break-and-enter. Detectives also arrested two other males, aged 17 and 16, who continue to assist police with inquiries. Mr Lee told A Current Affair it all happened so quickly.
"We just bolted to our bedroom door and I opened it and two people were there. It was a major shock. It was terrifying," he told the show. Mr Lee was allegedly stabbed in the back and arm and was stomped on before being taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Despite her injuries, Mr Lee said he thought his wife would make it.
"I thought she was [going to survive] because I suppose the work the paramedics were doing at the time," he said. "I know she didn’t have a pulse, but then they said they got her pulse back. It wasn’t until, I don’t know, a couple of hours later in the hospital I was told [she had died]."
The devastated dad then had the heartbreaking job of telling his teenage daughters of their mum's death after one asked 'where's mummy?'.
"I said, 'we need to talk' and we both just broke down," Mr Lovell said.
The Lovell family moved to Australia from the UK 11 years ago and have lived in the North Lakes home since 2018. In that time, Mr Lovell said they'd never felt unsafe and were shocked to learn of a halfway house on the same street.
Neighbours detail chilling screams
Neighbours said they heard screams for help from the two girls after the terrifying incident unfolded.
A neighbour told The Courier Mail he heard the 41-year-old's daughters yelling "someone help my mum, help my mum" immediately after the "confrontation".
"I witnessed the ambulances trying to help the mum on the front lawn," Jay Balhatchet told the publication. "There was stuff everywhere all over the front lawn from all the things that were left on the front lawn."
Mr Balhatchet said he saw another neighbour run over to help, but Mr Lovell was already on the phone to emergency services. "The whole way it ended, it shouldn’t end up that way," he told the publication.
Mr Lovell on Tuesday described his wife as the "the glue to our family".
"She was such a beautiful person. We're all just devastated from her loss," he said. "It's senseless. I don't know what people do it for."
Youth-related crime a big problem
The alleged murder has prompted calls for a crackdown on youth-related crime.
Travis Zealey, a neighbour of the Lovells and a former police officer, told the ABC he felt crime had "clearly increased" in the past 12 months and the killing had left him fearful for his family's safety. He said youth crime is "out of control" and that action was urgently needed.
Former detective Dr Terry Goldsworthy told Nine News the alleged attack on the Lovells is indicative of a wider problem with youth crime in Queensland.
"In the last financial year, we've had a 7 per cent increase in the crime rate, had an increase of 29 per cent in the terms of robberies, 13 per cent for unlawful use of motor vehicles, stolen cars, and 18 per cent for break and enters," he said.
Detectives are still trying to work out where the weapon used to stab Ms Lovell came from, and why the four boys were in the North Lakes at the time. The two teens charged with murder are from Zillmere and Holland Park,
Queensland's opposition Liberal National Party is calling for the wholesale review of youth crime laws, and for breach of bail to be made a crime in a bid to deter serious, repeat child offenders. It's believed the alleged attackers were out on bail and known to police.
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