Stephanie Scott murder: Who is her killer Vincent Stanford?

By Brooke Boney.

Vincent Stanford, the man sentenced to life in jail for the murder of Leeton schoolteacher Stephanie Scott, had a history of violent and murderous thoughts towards everyone around him.

The 26-year-old told a forensic psychologist he first thought of killing when he was only seven or eight years old.

“This was something I had to do, I couldn’t stop myself,” he said.

Early life in Netherlands

Stanford was born in Australia and raised here by his parents Anika and Steve until they moved him, his twin brother Marcus and older brother Luke to the Netherlands when he was three years old.

Soon after the family moved, Steve Stanford left them and returned to Australia, and had no further contact with his children.

The three boys were raised by their mother in the Netherlands and evidence tendered to the court suggested a normal childhood.

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In handing down his sentence, Justice Robert Hulme told the court: “There was nothing in the evidence provided … that indicates that there was anything adverse or dysfunctional in the circumstances of his upbringing or family circumstances.”

Stanford told a psychologist he had “alright” relationships with everyone in his family, but he was not particularly close to his older brother, Luke.

His twin, Marcus, was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of Ms Scott.

After Vincent was detained by police, psychological testing found he had a pattern of social and interpersonal deficits including the capacity to experience emotion, extreme detachment and indifference to others.

He had elevated scores on the sadistic/aggressive scale but scored in the very low range for psychopathic tendencies.

The court heard “Stanford also offered that he does not have to be angry to feel violent and described it as just cold-blooded violence”.

Violent outbursts towards teacher

Stanford said he first thought of killing when he was a young child.

He was expelled from a school in the Netherlands in 2003 for a violent outburst towards a teacher in which he grabbed her by the throat.

Justice Hulme told the court “he said he had always had thoughts of killing someone from the time he was seven or eight years old”.

Stanford returned to Australia and settled in Leeton only months before the murder and said he had no friends or social contact and that “being in the company of other people was stressful”.

He began stalking women in and around the community of Leeton, taking thousands of photographs and notes on their movements and when they would be alone.

Stanford maintains the rape and murder of Ms Scott was not premeditated.

Justice Hulme told the court “as soon as [Vincent Stanford] saw [Stephanie Scott] at the school on the morning he murdered her, Mr Stanford said ‘I had to kill her'”.

“He said it was an instant thought and it was not unusual for him to have such thoughts.”

Web search history shows interest in ‘rape scenes’

The search history on Stanford’s computer shows a history of seeking out and viewing violent rape scenes – some of them directed towards teachers.

Examples of searches conducted by Stanford only weeks before the murder paint a disturbing picture.

Search terms included “bride rape”, “bride kidnapping”, “virgin bride brutally raped by drunk man/rape videos” and “Muslim man rapes child bride until she dies”.

Immediately following those searches was a rape porn video called “Japanese teacher clothes cut off and gang raped by students”.

The day before he killed Ms Scott, his search phrases were: “widow maker”, “widow knives”, “sharpest puncture knives”, “sharpest knife tips”, “sharpest knife you can buy”, “best piercing knives” and “serial killer knives”.

Lack of remorse

A psychologist who examined Stanford after the murder said he showed a complete lack of remorse for the killing and said “he seldom thinks about it at all”.

In handing down the sentence, Justice Hulme said Stanford “has developed an entrenched self-belief that he is defective”.

“His autistic limitations cause him to fluctuate between despair for himself and unfulfilled expectations [of] others’ treatment of him which leads to entrenched anger and hatred,” the judge said.

“He is essentially locked into this eternally conflicted state.”

Justice Hulme finished by sentencing him to life imprisonment for the murder of Ms Scott.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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