AAP, September 18, 1998

Headmaster convicted of child molestation murdered in jail

(Australia) A FORMER school headmaster convicted of molesting his students was "stomped" to death at Junee Jail in south western New South Wales last night, police said.

John Thomas Kennett, 46, was found lying in a pool of blood in Cell Block 3B of the Junee Correctional Centre shortly after 8pm (AEST) yesterday.

Kennett, formerly of Kinross Wallaroy private school at Orange, had been at the privately run prison for less than a week, after being transferred from Bathurst Jail.

Police said they believed Kennett was murdered because he was a convicted child sex offender.

A fellow inmate found the body. Kennett had suffered severe head injuries.

"Injuries to Mr Kennett's head are consistent with him being stomped on," police said.

Kennett was convicted of 37 sex offences against 12 boys in May this year.

The offences dated from 1978 to 1986 and included tongue kissing, spanking and fondling his students who were aged between nine and 12.

He was sentenced by Judge Joseph Gibson in the District Court to eight years jail, with the earliest release date listed as May 2006.

Judge Gibson described the offences as "a substantial breach of trust".

The court was told Kennett's marriage had broken up and he had lost his family as a result of the allegations.

Detectives investigating the murder said the 30 fellow inmates housed in the same cell block as Kennett had been locked in their cells immediately following the discovery.

They said inquiries so far indicated that at 7.15pm two fellow inmates were seen at the door to the former headmaster's cell.

One emerged a short time later.

Police said the murder investigation centred on these two inmates.

The body was taken to Glebe Mortuary today for a post mortem examination.

Return to Newsroom Index or to Table of Contents