Student, 21, strangled girlfriend, 18, as he was convinced she was a ‘life-sucking demon’ | The Sun

A UNIVERSITY student strangled his girlfriend to death after believing she was a “life-sucking demon”.

Jordan Brodie Miller, 22, has been found guilty of murdering Emerald Wardle, 18 at his parents’ home in Maitland, north of Sydney, on June 20, 2020.

Over his three-week trial the court heard the student was in a psychotic state and believed his girlfriend was a demon who was “sucking the life out of him”.

However, the jury believed the prosecutors who said his descent into a psychotic state was caused solely by his “chronic” cannabis use and taking LSD.

Miller’s lawyers had tried to argue the student had been suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness like schizophrenia when he strangled Emerald.

Miller had consumed the LSD, also known as acid, on June 9, just 11 days before Emerald was found dead by cops who entered the Metford home shortly after 1.30am.

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It took five days of deliberation before the jury returned a guilty verdict, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The jury rejected finding a “special verdict” where Miller could have been found guilty of the act but not criminally responsible due to a mental health impairment. 

The notion Miller did not intend to kill Emerald, but “another being” that was not human was also rejected by jurors in the Newcastle court room.

Giving evidence at the trial, Professor David Greenburg suggested Miller's condition had met the criteria of a drug-induced psychosis, but didn't meet all the criteria of schizophrenia, a condition his lawyer's argued he could be suffering from.

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Another psychiatrist, Professor Olav Nielssen, however said he would “put money on” Miller suffering from schizophrenia which had been intensified by his drug use.

During the trial, the court also heard Miller has not experienced any other psychotic episodes since his girlfriend’s death and has not taken any antipsychotic medication since January, 2021.

Emerald’s mum, Tania Simshauser, took the stand at the trial and spoke of the adoration her daughter had for Miller.

She said she had referred to the 22-year-old as a “big, shy, genius”.

Friends and family who also took the stand described Miller as a “gentle giant”.

Several though also said they had detected some behavioural changes in him which had been highlighted after he had been charged with Emerald’s murder.

Witnesses said he had become more argumentative and had he had mentioned becoming more intelligent and losing his “ego” in the wake of his acid trip on June 11.

After getting in contact with a counselling service via his job at a Caltex service station he later disclosed to authorities he believed he was getting messages from the station about demons.

On the night before Emerald died, Miller had stolen his girlfriend’s car and driven out to her “favourite” spot in Morpeth, where he had intended on taking his own life.

But after speaking with Ms Wardle on the phone he returned home.

In a video-link appearance in court the day after his arrest, Miller repeatedly said he was a “murderer,” despite pleas from his lawyer’s not to do so.

“I wrapped my hands around Emerald Wardle's throat,” he said, despite his legal aid solicitor appealing for him to remain silent.

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Miller, who has no prior convictions for domestic violence, also told authorities he had been aware that he was strangling Emerald.

Miller has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced at a later date.

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