true crime

The man who murdered Stephanie Scott has a twin brother. Four years later, he's still haunted by what he did.

School teacher Stephanie Scott spent her 2015 Easter Sunday at work.

The bride-to-be was just days away from walking down the aisle, and was busy preparing lessons in the Leeton high school staff room for her replacement who would need some direction while she was on her honeymoon.

As she left, she ran into a cleaner in the corridor.

“I’m going home now, have a happy Easter,” she told him as she made her way towards the school gate.

Stephanie and Aaron
Stephanie and her fiance Aaron. Image: Facebook/Stephanie Claire.

But as she tried to open the metal clasp that led to the street she was grabbed around the waist.

Relief cleaner Vincent Stanford covered her screams with his hand and dragged her back into the building.

The then 25-year-old pulled her into a storeroom that was once used as a photography dark room where he raped her, punched her unconscious and stabbed her in the neck with a knife.

He later told police the stabbing was to "make sure she was dead."

Here is some of the news coverage at the time. Post continues after video.

Video via Nine

Stephanie's family began to worry when the 26-year-old didn't come home.

They were sure the English and drama teacher hadn't got cold feet about marrying her partner of five years Aaron Leeson-Woolley.

As the family and Aaron frantically searched, Stanford was busy covering his tracks - with the help of his twin brother Marcus.

Vincent put Stephanie's naked body in the boot of her red Mazda 3 and parked the car in the shed in his backyard overnight, before driving it 70 kilometres away to the Cocoparra National Park.

He found a secluded spot, placed branches over Stephanie's body, poured petrol over her and set her on fire.

Sickeningly, as the court heard, he then took photos of her burnt remains which were later found by police on his camera.

He dumped her car back closer to home, and then involved his brother in his crime by asking him to dispose of evidence.

Vincent Stanford (left) was sentenced to life in prison for murder, while Marcus Stanford (right) was charged with accessory after the fact. Image: AAP.

Marcus, now 28, spent 15-months in jail for being an accessory after the murder. He pawned Stephanie's engagement ring and another piece of jewellery posted to him by Vincent. He also burnt her driver's licence.

After being released from prison in September 2016 Vincent moved in with his father  - but they've recently moved to a country town in New South Wales, reports the Daily Mail, after being "run out" of their previous home in Price, South Australia by the locals.

"I did things for my brother... and for most days I've been trying to put it behind me,' Marcus told the publication.


"Now I don't want anything to do with him. I have no contact with him and I don't want any."

Marcus admits that what he did to help his brother was despicable and he did it out of "misguided loyalty" to his twin.

"The day I got out (of jail) I said I was sorry... I'm still sorry,' he told the Daily Mail. "But does it haunt me? Yeah. Some weeks you're good, some weeks you think about it. That's how I can put it basically."

It was the Wednesday that Vincent mailed his brother evidence from his kill that he was arrested by police. They  found a set of keys belonging to Stephanie in his possession.

On the Friday, Stephanie's body was found and the following day - the day that was supposed to be Stephanie's wedding day - Vincent admitted to her murder.

As the gravity of Stephanie's death settled on the small town of Leeton the outpouring of grief was immense.

Thousands attended her funeral which was held at the venue where she was supposed to be marrying Aaron.

Mourners release balloons during the funeral for murdered Leeton school teacher Stephanie Scott in Eugowra, NSW, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Image: Mick Tsikas.

During Vincent's court case, the room heard how he'd felt an overwhelming desire to kill Stephanie from the moment he laid eyes on her, and in fact went home to pick up his "rape kit" before returning to the school to carry out his crime.

The court also heard evidence about violent sex-related internet searches, Vincent's possession of knives and handcuffs and his claim to a psychologist that "this is just the way I'm arranged."

"He said he had always had thoughts of killing someone from the time he was seven or eight years old," Judge Hulme quoted from a psychiatrist's report, as reported by the ABC.


In handing down his life sentence on November 14, Justice Robert Hulme told the court, "Stanford seldom thinks about his crime and showed no remorse for his disturbing acts."

"The level of culpability is so extreme that it warrants the maximum penalty," he said.

Stephanie Claire Scott
Stephanie had been at work preparing lessons for her relief teacher, when she was murdered. Image: Facebook/Stephanie Claire.

Outside court, Stephanie's mother spoke on behalf of the family telling Sydney Morning Herald, "losing her has shattered so many lives and we are all struggling with the consequences."

"We need to be able to fade from public view, to mourn our beautiful girl and work our way through our grief," she said.

Marcus, who is identical to his brother, has been trying to keep a low profile since his release from prison.

"We don't go to the pub, we don't go anywhere, It's hard but that's the way it is," he told the Daily Mail. 

Neither Marcus or his dad work, and Steve Stanford is struggling to come to terms with his son's crime.

"I don't want to call him, I don't want to sit down with him, I don't want anything to do with him," Steve said.

"I've never had a bloody parking ticket. I don't know why he did it, I never asked why he did it and to be honest, I don't want to know."

With AAP.

Read more:

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