Denise Morcombe exits Brisbane's Supreme Court after Brett Peter Cowan was found guilty. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
The first second after Daniel was born eight weeks premature, I knew he was special.
His big eyes stared at me and we bonded immediately.
Nobody will ever know the love I felt for Daniel.
At 4pm Sunday 7 December 2003, while getting Daniel’s clothes off the line, I knew something was wrong.
Daniel wasn’t due to return to the bus stop until 5.30 but for some unknown reason I was anxious. Hence I went to see if he was there at 4.30.
I don’t know what it was but I knew that when Bruce returned home soon after 5.30 from the bus stop without him, I knew I would never see him again.
I made a vow to Daniel I would find out where he is and that justice will be done.
For years I haven’t slept more than three hours at a time. I have lived and breathed each day to find the answers.
I have bad nightmares every couple of weeks, screaming at night, ‘No, no, I won’t go with you’.
I see my son lying by himself in that dark, eerie bushland being destroyed by wild animals.
You, Mr Cowan, left him there, you have no respect for a human life.
He was an innocent boy, starting to grow up and learning about life.
He was gentle, he loved animals and wanted to be a vet.
He would never hurt a soul.
He was scared of the dark and often slept on the floor next to me.
Mr Cowan, only you know how petrified he was as you drove down Kings Road with him, but I can only imagine.
Mr Cowan, only you know Daniel’s last look in his eyes as you choked him to death, but I can only imagine.
My life is not the same as 10 years ago.
A different house, a different job, different friends.
My family has also been destroyed.
Not only has your deliberate calculated actions affected me, Bruce, Dean and Bradley, but it has destroyed my parents, my brothers and extended family.
Gone are happy family functions we all enjoyed, you took that away from us.
We all know one person is not there and we will never recover from that.
Mr Cowan I saw you smiling with your son ... and former wife in a photo taken on Boxing Day 2003. You had a smirk like nothing had happened, a happy family snap.
Meanwhile, my family was living in hell searching for our son, who you knew was dead.
I hope you have a life of loneliness and unloved for your entire life.
I hope you are never released as you have no remorse for any of your past horrific crimes against innocent children.
This day hasn’t brought closure but the streets are safer without you walking them and looking for your next target to destroy.
Your mistake was that you picked on Daniel to release your animalistic sexual needs.
You are a perverted soul and didn’t realise that his mother would never give up searching for answers and how much I loved him.
He was and still is a part of me.
That was your mistake, you evil, evil unhuman thing.
I hope your jail time is difficult and you are never released.
For me, I have a purpose.
As thanks to all who have searched for Daniel, I wish to explain his tragic story.
I will continue my work with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation teaching children to be aware of people like you.
By doing this, I hope there will never be another child who goes through what Daniel did from a sexual freak like you.
I have accepted I will never see Daniel again and I have no control over what your sentence is.
But if there is a God and he knows the love a mother has for her son, you will pay for your actions, you will pay big.