A man was living in his unit with the body of a murdered man in the garden for six weeks until it was discovered by police.
Darcy McNamara, 44, was sentenced to 20 years jail with 14 years non-parole in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Thursday for the 2018 murder of Nathan Day.
Mr Day was murdered in the Victorian town of Wangaratta by McNamara and another man, Phillip Dunn, who has pleaded guilty to assisting an offender.
Judge Michael Croucher said “portions of Mr Day’s hair and his right hip were visible above the soil”.
The two men had covered the partially uncovered body in objects including broken chairs, pieces of carpet and a tabletop.
“With little ceremony and even less dignity – although Mr McNamara did say a prayer for him – he was buried in a shallow grave,” he said.
‘TRAGIC AND GRISLY END’
Justice Croucher said there was “uncertainty” over the facts of the murder, with differing accounts offered at various times by both Dunn and McNamara.
What is known is that the 35-year-old “met a tragic and grisly end” when his throat was cut on the evening of July 26, 2018, Justice Croucher said.
He said it was a case of drunken aggression that got so out of hand it ended in murder.
“At some point during the scuffle (Day) was stabbed in the neck,” he said.
The three men – Dunn, McNamara, and Day – were on-again, off-again friends who each had problems with alcohol.
Justice Croucher said their relationship was “complex and changeable”, with “episodes of aggression, property damage and threats” between each of them.
He said the victim was intermittently homeless and spent time living under a bridge – but at the time of the murder he was living with a woman he met through the local church, who he called gran.
Mr Day’s mother told the court her son had a cheeky grin and made friends with marginalised students when he was in school.
His nickname was Pockets and he was an animal lover, the court heard.
“It pains her she never got to say goodbye,” Justice Croucher said.
MURDERER HAD PAINFUL UPBRINGING
When sentencing McNamara he said the murderer had a difficult childhood where he was sexually abused and was smacked by his parents when he tried to tell them.
He was again abused at a juvenile detention centre by a staff member, who was later charged for abusing other children, the court heard.
McNamara’s father would punish him by locking him in a cupboard, and his teachers chastised him at school in front of his classmates because his parents didn’t pay school fees, the court heard.
His father “attacked his mother with a claw hammer” on the front step of his home when she tried to leave him, Justice Croucher said.
“His mother was in a coma for sometime and was never the same again,” he said.
Co-accused Dunn will be sentenced at a later date.