THE man found guilty of killing three Fiji born siblings has been handed the longest jail term by the Supreme Court in Brisbane.
Justice John Byrne yesterday ordered that Max Sica, 42, serve a non-parole period of 35 years.
Sica was convicted for the brutal murders of his former girlfriend Neelma Singh, 24, and her siblings Kunal, 18, and Sidhi, 12, at their Brisbane home in April 2003.
Courier Mail reported that after a 77-day criminal trial - the longest in Queensland legal history - the jury deliberated almost four days before finding the Crown's strong circumstantial case was sufficient to find married father-of-two daughters had ended the three siblings' lives.
Earlier in the day, the defence submitted a sentence of 20 to 30 years and the prosecution sought a 45-year non-parole period for Sica.
Under a Queensland law, a person convicted of multiple murders receives a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment and must serve a minimum of 20 years before being eligible for parole.
The parents of the Singh siblings, Vijay and Shirley, were present in court for the hearing, so too were Sica's mother and father, Anamaria and Carlo.
Mr Singh owned Unique Motors, an auto spare part business in Suva, before the family migrated to Australia in 1993.
Jurors were reduced to tears as Shirley Singh's statement was read out by a member of the prosecution team.
Mrs Singh told of how she tried to take her own life on several occasions and ended up searching cemeteries for their graves in the middle of the night, drunk and affected by Stilnox, a drug used to treat insomnia.
"I still cook for them, change, wash and iron their clothes," she wrote.
"I light a candle every night in the spa so they don't have to sleep in the dark. I was forced to sit down and wait for my children to be cremated.
"People tried to comfort me but I pushed them all away. I didn't even want anyone touching me."
The court had heard that Sica went to the Singh family's home late on the night of April 20, 2003, to talk with Neelma and possibly have a prayer meeting about his alleged brain tumour.
No calls were made or answered from the Singh house - mobile or landline - after 11.10pm on April 20 and each of the trio were dressed for bed which indicated they were killed before getting dressed on the Monday morning.
For some reason - perhaps out of jealously or rejection - in a rage Sica strangled Neelma, the Crown said.
It is believed Sica fearing Kunal and Sidhi could identify him as Neelma's killer - got a garden fork and attacked them in their beds. Before he passed sentence, Justice Byrne said he was asked by the prosecution to hand down a sentence 50 per cent greater than the longest sentence ever given by a Queensland judge.
Defence lawyer Sam Di Carlo said the Singh murders were not in the "worst category" because both Kunal and Sidhi were killed in their beds while asleep and did not experience the horror of other notoriously brutal murders committed in Queensland.
But Justice Byrne said it was not known how much terror the children experienced. "The lives of an 18-year-old and a 12-year-old meant nothing to him," he said.
"Why is it not in the worst category?"
"It's certainly a horrific murder," Mr Di Carlo conceded.
Criminal lawyer Peter Saggers, shortly after the verdict, said his client, Sica, was "obviously disappointed" about the jury's decision and would most likely appeal the verdicts.
"We've got a month (in which to lodge any) appeal," he said.