Robert Xie given five life sentences for Lin family murders

Robert Xie is escorted to a prison truck after being found guilty of the murder of the Lin family. Photo: Daniel Munoz
Robert Xie is escorted to a prison truck after being found guilty of the murder of the Lin family. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Robert Xie will die in jail as one of the most violent and incomprehensible mass murderers in Australia's history.

Almost eight years after five members of the Lin family were killed in their beds, Xie, 53, was given five consecutive life sentences.

Xie, 53, murdered his brother-in-law Min "Norman" Lin, 45, Mr Lin's wife Yun Li "Lily" Lin, 43, her sister Yun Bin "Irene" Lin, 39, and the Lins' two sons Henry, 12, and Terry, 9, at their North Epping home on July 18, 2009.

Min Lin's parents, Feng Qing Zhu (left) and Yang Fei Lin, outside the Supreme Court with photos of their murdered family members on Friday. Photo: Peter Rae

Min Lin's parents, Feng Qing Zhu (left) and Yang Fei Lin, outside the Supreme Court with photos of their murdered family members on Friday. Photo: Peter Rae

He was charged in May 2011 after a painstaking investigation across the family's adopted home of Australia and their native China.

After four trials - two were aborted and a third hung - Xie was found guilty by a majority 11 to one last month.

Xie, a former ear, nose and throat specialist, maintains his innocence. He continues to be supported by his wife Kathy Lin, the sister of Min Lin.

In a sentencing hearing on Friday, Crown prosecutor Tanya Smith said Xie was a "trusted relative" who meticulously planned and carried out the killings with an "extreme degree of violence".

Ms Smith said that only the imposition of a life sentence for each of the five murders was appropriate

"The killings constitute criminality of the highest order," Ms Smith said.

Kathy Lin, the wife of Robert Xie, leaves court on Friday. Photo: Peter Rae

Kathy Lin, the wife of Robert Xie, leaves court on Friday. Photo: Peter Rae

"The level of culpability is so extreme that it cannot be reflected in a sentence that is less than life imprisonment.

"He did so in their bedrooms in a very quiet suburban home in the early hours of the morning ... a place where they were all entitled to be safe and secure and a place where young Terry and Henry, only 9 and 12, should have happily pursued their childhood."

Xie had given great thought to assembling the murder weapon - a hammer-like object - and used his knowledge of the layout of the house and the front door key, she said.

Prosecutors said Xie was motivated to kill his wife's brother and his family because he was enraged by his perceived lowly status within the family.

There was also an alleged illicit sexual motive, the details of which cannot be reported due to non-publication orders.

Ms Smith told Justice Fullerton that, whatever the motive, Xie was "acting in his own self-interest".

Xie's lawyer Kara Greiner did not present any submissions on his behalf regarding his sentence as he maintains his innocence.

A relative, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, gave a victim impact statement which spoke of nightmares and mental health issues.

"There are not enough words to describe the pain and suffering this has caused me and to those around me," the relative said.

"It has completely changed my life. I do not think that there will be any one aspect of my life that would be the same if this crime had not occurred.

"The pain of losing loved ones never goes away and it does not get easier with time.

"As time goes on, others may forget but I will have to live with the aftermath of this crime someone else has committed for the rest of my life."

Senior Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC, sat in the public gallery with Mr Lin's parents Yang Fei Lin and Feng Qin Zhu, who wept throughout the hearing.

Xie's wife Kathy Lin sat closest to the dock where her husband sat.

Following the verdict, Xie rose to his feet in the dock and said: "I did not murder the Lin family, I am innocent."

The Crown case was that Xie sedated his wife and left her in bed when he went to the Lins' house in North Epping between 2am and 5.30am.

He cut the electricity and used a key to get inside without a sound.

He was carrying the hammer-like weapon - "assembled for maximum effect to incapacitate and kill" - and used it to beat Min and Lily while they slept.

Xie then crept to the second bedroom and killed Irene.

It's likely Terry and Henry woke up and tried to escape before they were murdered, possibly because they had seen Xie and would have been able to identify him.