A woman accused of starting a fire that killed her former
husband and destroyed his Brisbane townhouse has pleaded
guilty to manslaughter.
Sakura Suda, 45, also pleaded guilty to arson when she
appeared in the Supreme Court in Brisbane today.
The Japanese national is accused of dousing her divorced
husband, Kenji Suda, in petrol and setting him alight at his
Runcorn home, in Brisbane's south, on December 27, 2011.
She was originally charged with the ferry skipper's murder;
however, the charge was downgraded to manslaughter in the
Mental Health Court.
At a sentencing hearing, the Supreme Court heard details of
Mr Suda's long-standing extra-martial affair and of the
accused's relationship with a younger man, who she met during
a 2010 holiday to Japan.
Prosecutor Brendan Campbell said although it was unclear who
filed for divorce, the Sudas considered themselves officially
separated in October 2011.
Mr Suda bought his own townhouse, but let his former wife
move in that November when it became clear she couldn't cope
on her own, Mr Campbell said.
He said Mr Suda had become increasingly concerned about his
former wife's mental state, and on December 21 sent his
daughter to Japan.
Four days later, on Christmas Day, Suda filled two fuel cans
at a service station and hid them in the spare bedroom, then
bought matches on Boxing Day, the court heard.
The following night, neighbours heard screaming coming from
the burning home.
Suda escaped by jumping from an upstairs window and landing
on a hedge.
She suffered injuries from the fall and substantial burns.
According to insurance estimates, the house would cost
$194,000 to rebuild, while $117,000 was required for repairs
to a neighbouring townhouse damaged in the fire, Mr Campbell
Mr Suda and the accused's daughter, 11, now lives in Japan
with her grandmother.
Suda has already served two years and two months in
The sentencing hearing before Justice David Jackson