Husband Convinced Wife to Kill Herself, Planned to Use $1M Life Insurance to Build Religious Commune

An Australian man has been found guilty of convincing his wife to kill herself so that he could claim her substantial life insurance.

69-year-old Graham Robert Morant was found guilty by a jury in Queensland on Tuesday for pressuring his wife Jennifer Morant into taking her own life. Jennifer had three separate insurance policies on her life, totalling 1.4 million Australian dollars ($1 million.) Graham would have become the sole benefactor of the money.

According to The Guardian, the court heard that Graham had spent months trying to convince his wife to take her life by telling her the money would go to building a religious commune. Graham told Jennifer that suicide would not be considered a sin by God because of the benefits to the church.

"I had such a zest and zeal to live," Graham told police. "She had such a zest and zeal to die." Jennifer, who was 56 at the time of her death, was suffering from chronic back pain. She was found dead in her car on November 23, 2014.

According to The Courier Mail, Graham admitted to police that when he left the house on the Sunday morning for church, he knew there was an "off-chance" his wife would kill herself.

Jennifer's sister, Lynette Lucas, said Graham was "all about the money. She said she didn't believe it would be a sin in God's eyes to commit suicide because she would be doing something good for the church and helping him," Lucas said, according to the Brisbane paper.

Morant's best friend, Johanna "Judy" Dent, said Jennifer had told her that Graham knew a way she could kill herself without feeling any pain. Jennifer reportedly told Dent during a visit: "Now when I go back, I have to do it. I have to kill myself and Graham will be helping."

Graham pleaded innocent to the charges before being found guilty. Justice Peter Davis denied him bail, despite saying he was a low risk to the public. "Consistent with the directions I gave the jury, the jury has concluded but for the counselling Ms Morant would not have ended her life," Davis said, according to The Guardian. "The offences are serious."

Graham Morant will be sentenced on October 19.

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours every day. If someone you know appears to be contemplating suicide, visit Bethe1To.com for assistance.