No motive for ‘cold’ execution
‘Cowardly’ way teen shot his brother in horrific killing
HIS high school teacher being a senior member of the Ku Klux Klan didn’t influence Anthony David Rowlingson’s plan to shoot his own brother.
In fact, the real reason why the then-16-year-old shot Robert Rowlingson, 19, twice with a gun he’d taken from their father’s safe has never been identified.
That’s despite multiple psychiatric assessments filed with various courts in parole bids by the teenage killer from Pittsworth dubbed by the courts a “cold-blooded” murderer.
Robert, a well-known football player, had been working on his car at the Rowlingson family home in Pittsworth on Sunday, July 15, 2007.
Anthony shot his brother twice – once in the back of the head after he’d fallen to the ground after the first shot – then used his father’s forklift to load his body into the back of Robert’s car.
Covering the blood on the ground with some dirt, Anthony drove around the district for a time before calling on his high school teacher, Graeme McNeil, to help him dump Robert’s body off a bridge into a floodway.
Anthony was questioned by police two days later, laughing at them when officers suggested it would give his parents peace of mind to locate his brother.
He later confessed and tried to broker a deal with police that he needed something done for him.
“I am in possession of some incriminating information about a colleague of mine, and if you give me a guarantee that you will destroy it, I will show you where my brother is, and tell you everything,” Anthony said.
The information related to McNeil and his membership of the KKK, evidence of which Anthony had found when using his teacher’s laptop loaned to him.
Psychiatrists have never been able to determine the definitive motive but one, Dr Scott Harden, said Anthony was a “young man who values secrecy and control above all else”.
Anthony’s own legal counsel conceded the murder of his brother was a “particularly heinous offence” as the prosecution sought, due to it being in “the worst category of the offence of murder”, that he serve life in jail.
Submissions of 12 to 13 years in detention were rejected.
“This was a cold-blooded murder, a premeditated murder, in which you, without any provocation – and I don’t mean in the legal sense – without any provocation at all, shot your brother in a very cowardly way,” Justice Anthe Philippides said.
“There was nothing heroic about this death.
“The lack of remorse, the attempt to fool the police and your family, allowing your parents to become more and more agitated demonstrates, without a doubt, the concerns about your personality deficits mentioned by the experts.”
Justice Philippides rejected Anthony’s application to have his name suppressed.
“Because of the matters that are raised in the psychiatrist’s report, that unless you have undergone quite substantial rehabilitation by way of personality treatment with cognitive and behavioural therapy, that you will constitute a danger to the community … I would permit identifying information about you to be published after the period for giving a notice of appeal or application for leave to appeal, in your case, against sentence has ended.”
Next in Killer Teens series: Brother’s brutal rape and stabbing murder of his sister. See thechronicle.com.au
THIS WAS A COLD-BLOODED MURDER, A PREMEDITATED MURDER, IN WHICH YOU, WITHOUT ANY PROVOCATION ... SHOT YOUR BROTHER IN A VERY COWARDLY WAY.
JUSTICE ANTHE PHILIPPIDES
Photo: Bev Lacey
MOTIVE UNCLEAR: Anthony Rowlingson, then 16, laughed when he was being questioned by detectives as police (above) searched for his older brother Robert Rowlingson. Anthony later confessed to killing the 19-year-old.
SHOCK: Robert Rowlingson was shot twice by his younger brother in what the courts described as a ‘cold-blooded’ and ‘cowardly’ execution.
SEARCH: Detectives and forensic officers search for evidence in the murder of Pittsworth teen Robert Rowlingson.