Man in Queensland convicted after living with partner’s body for weeks and dumping her body

WARNING: INCREDIBLE CONTENT

The “disturbingly bizarre” behavior of a man who lived with the body of his partner for weeks before leaving it in a trash can and lied to his family has been admitted by a court in Queensland.

Jason Cooper, 46, pleaded guilty to involvement in a corpse and fraud in connection with the death of his partner Shae Francis, who was 35 when she died in October 2018. Her body has not been found.

The couple were under the influence of alcohol and lived together in a Hervey Bay apartment before Francis died, Queensland District Court told Friday.

He will not serve additional time in jail after 896 days declared jailed after being remanded in custody in June 2019.

Francis’ mother said there was “no justice” because Cooper was released.

Shae Francis was reported missing in March 2019.
Shae Francis was reported missing in March 2019. Credit: Queensland Police Service/Delivered

“I’m just in shock. I’m numb,” Cheryl-Lee Francis said outside court.

“I want my daughter home, respect her and give her the dignity she deserves.”

Cooper denies any involvement in Francis’ death and told police he woke up one morning to find her dead and her body remained in their apartment for “about three weeks” before acquiring it.

He wrapped the body in a sleeping bag and intended to bury it on the beach “which is what she wanted”, but panicked when he saw a police car and threw it in a rubbish bin, the court was told.

Jason Cooper pleaded guilty to interfering in the body of his partner Shae Francis.
Jason Cooper pleaded guilty to interfering in the body of his partner Shae Francis. Credit: Glenn Hunt/AAP

He told police he returned to the ship a few hours later, but the body was gone.

Neighbors reported a foul odor coming from Cooper’s room in late October, and police later visited his apartment but found no evidence of a crime.

He was later thrown out and the room was cleaned and painted.

Cooper repeatedly told family members Francis was still alive but no longer living in Hervey Bay.

Her disappearance triggered a series of searches after she was reported missing in March 2019.

Traced

He had used her bank card and collected transactions worth more than $ 9000 before being tracked down by Victoria police in 2019.

After Cooper finally told police his version of events, a search of a landfill in Queensland was attempted in March 2020, but failed to find the body.

Cooper was originally charged with manslaughter, but the prosecution only went ahead with the two charges he pleaded guilty to.

“It must be made clear that you will not be convicted on the basis that you are responsible for the death of the deceased,” Judge William Everson said Friday.

Cheryl-Lee Francis, holding a picture of her daughter Shae Maree Francis, outside Queensland District Court in Brisbane.
Cheryl-Lee Francis, holding a picture of her daughter Shae Maree Francis, outside Queensland District Court in Brisbane. Credit: Darren England/AAP

Francis had a documented history of alcohol dependence that resulted in seizures and was hospitalized not long before her death, the court was told.

Cooper’s alcohol dependence had developed to the point that he drank four liters of wine a day and he has received antipsychotic treatment while in prison.

He was convicted and sentenced to 896 days for interfering in a corpse and received a 12-month jail term for fraud, served concurrently.

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