Shae Francis’s mother, Cheryl-Lee Francis (right) embraces her sister Janine. Photo: Cody Fox / File
Shae Francis’s mother, Cheryl-Lee Francis (right) embraces her sister Janine. Photo: Cody Fox / File

Slain woman’s mum taunted over daughter’s tragedy

THE disappearance and death of her daughter Shae was too much for Cheryl-Lee Francis to process emotionally and she eventually cracked after a prolonged and escalating neighbourhood dispute.

That was the argument made by defence solicitor Melissa Guilfoyle in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court Thursday.

Ms Francis, 56, pleaded guilty to three charges, including one of wilful damage.

Ms Guilfoyle told Magistrate Stephen Guttridge her client had endured harmful and insulting comments relating to her daughter's death by a neighbour on numerous occasions in recent months.

The conflict came to a head earlier this year when Ms Francis sprayed a garden hose through two of the complainant's open windows.

Household appliances and the man's bed were left saturated.

Police prosecutor Louese McConnell said Ms Francis and the complainant started arguing over loud music coming from his home.

The court heard the music would sometimes continue for more than seven hours.

Ms Francis' daughter Shae went missing in Hervey Bay and has not been seen since October 2018.

Shae's former partner has been charged with manslaughter over her death.

Ms Guilfoyle told Mr Guttridge her daughter's death and the death of her fiance as a result of a medical condition several years ago meant Ms Francis was unable to handle the conflict appropriately.

The court also heard the complainant allegedly threw a teacup at Ms Francis prior to her grabbing the garden hose.

Ms Guilfoyle handed up documents reflecting the treatment Ms Francis was receiving for depression and anxiety, among other things.

She said her client had also sought mediation in the dispute on at least three occasions.

Mr Guttridge accepted Ms Francis' guilty plea but said her emotional state was not an excuse for her actions.

He recorded a conviction and imposed a $750 recognisance order for a period of 12 months.