Archive photo of detectives and SES searching Laurel Bank Park in connection with the murder of Stanley Smith in 2004.
Archive photo of detectives and SES searching Laurel Bank Park in connection with the murder of Stanley Smith in 2004. Nev Madsen

KILLER TEENS: Callous and cowardly killing of war veteran

TWO teenagers, aged just 16 and 14 at the time, who killed World War II veteran Stanley James Smith with a fence paling were never named.

The community was never allowed to know their names but Toowoomba residents of that era have never forgotten Mr Smith, the 86-year-old digger who was essentially murdered for a measly $8.

The teens both pleaded guilty to murder arising from the November, 2004, robbery gone wrong.

By virtue of their plea, the pair admitted they'd gone to Mr Smith's Clifford St home on a Friday night with a plan to rob Mr Smith but "with no intention to kill", prosecutor Richard Pointing told the Toowoomba Supreme Court in sentencing submissions on March 17, 2006.

The Chronicle's killer teen series.
The Chronicle's killer teen series.

Mr Smith, who served at Milne Bay with the 25th Battalion during World War 11, had been watching TV when the teens broke into his home about 9pm on November 12, 2004.

One of the teens, just 14 and a half at the time, had armed himself with a solid timber paling taken from under Mr Smith's home.

The slightly older teen, aged 16, kicked an ironing board onto Mr Smith before the younger of the pair struck the war veteran - five times to the head, and three times to the back of the neck.

The court was told any of the blows were potentially fatal.

The pair fled the home, having stolen the total sum of $8.

Stanley Smith, murder 2004, clifford street. copy pic  Recruitment photo of World War II Veteran Stanley James Smith. He was murdered in his home (Clifford St, Toowoomba)Stanley was in the 25th Infantry Battalion and saw actionat Milne Bay. copy pic Milne Bay Military Museum
World War II veteran Stanley Smith was murdered in his Clifford St home by two boys, aged 14 and 16 at the time, in 2004. Mr Smith was in the 25th Infantry Battalion and saw action at Milne Bay.

Both teens were arrested the next day, with the younger killer admitting to Mr Smith's murder and the break-in, assault and robbery of a 66-year-old woman in the same street six weeks earlier.

Despite the violence admitted by the pair, there was no application made to name the teens and Justice John Muir made no ruling permitting it, although Queensland law at the time had those provisions.

The court did not press for the crime to be deemed a "particularly heinous offence", The Chronicle reported, which would have allowed for the public to know the teens' identities.

By law, the teens had to serve 70% of their term with further allowances considered for their guilty pleas and co-operation with authorities.

Justice Muir ordered the younger boy be detained for the maximum 10 years, to be released after serving half that.

The older boy received 10 years detention, with an order he be released after serving 60%.

For the break-in, assault and robbery of the 66-year-old woman, the younger boy was detained for no longer than three years, the older boy no more than four years, served cumulatively to the murder sentence.