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Trent Butt sentenced in St. John’s court

Trent Butt is taken out of the courtroom by sheriff’s officers Friday after the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.
Trent Butt is escorted from the courtroom during a break in proceedings of his first-degree murder trial last month in St. John's. Butt has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murder charge and three years for arson. - SaltWire File Photo

Life in prison for first-degree murder charge, three years for arson

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Following a number of emotional victim impact statements from the family of Quinn Butt, the dead child’s father Trent Butt was sentenced to a mandatory 25-year life sentence for first-degree murder.

Andrea Gosse shows reporters photos of her five-year-old daughter, Quinn, outside the courthouse in St. John’s Tuesday morning, after Quinn’s father was sentenced to life in prison for her murder in 2016. Quinn’s grandmother, Kay, weeps in the background.
Andrea Gosse shows reporters photos of her five-year-old daughter, Quinn, outside the courthouse in St. John’s Tuesday morning, after Quinn’s father was sentenced to life in prison for her murder in 2016. Quinn’s grandmother, Kay, weeps in the background.

Justice Donald Burrage also handed him a three-year sentence for arson. The time will be served concurrently with his life sentence.

The latter charge was open to Burrage’s decision. 

Crown prosecutors were seeking between three and three and a half years, pointing out that the house had been destroyed and that it had been part of a murder-suicide plot with a goal of causing Andrea Gosse, Quinn’s mother, the most suffering possible.

Butt’s defence, meanwhile, was looking for two years and pointed out that Butt had no criminal record and that although the property was destroyed, he owned half the equity. 

In rendering his decision, Burrage said he had considered “the calculated nature of the arson,” the desire to get revenge on Gosse and deny her Quinn’s remains, the loss of the home and the risk to emergency personnel who responded to the fire.

Gosse’s family weren’t the only ones to address the court, Butt himself also spoke to the court, apologizing to Gosse and reminding her that he was also grieving.

“No one is more sorry than I am,” he said.

Butt also told the court that if it weren’t for problems with the family court and child protection systems, “I’m sure we would not be here today.”

In response, Burrage said, “I, for one, do not accept your apology, nor your expression of remorse, if that’s what it was.”

Outside court, Gosse, carrying a poster board covered in photos of Quinn, spoke to reporters and re-iterated through tears the impact of Butt’s crimes on her and her family.

Tomorrow marks the three-year anniversary of Quinn’s death.

More to come.


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