A WOMAN who disposed of 27 unfired bullet cartridges three weeks after the fatal shooting of Tamworth highway patrol officer Senior Constable David Rixon earlier this year has been sentenced to a three-year jail term.
Her Honour Judge Payne made it clear during yesterday’s proceedings in Tamworth District Court that Monica Margaret Joyce Sampson’s sentence hinged on whether her role in the aftermath of the officer’s shooting death was pre-meditated.
The 29-year-old Tamworth woman will serve a maximum three- year jail term, with a non-parole period of 18 months.
Her hearing lasted more than three hours. In the gallery were members of Senior Constable Rixon’s family and police colleagues.
Sampson pleaded guilty to hindering the discovery of evidence – cartridges similar to those fired at the officer – and to a charge of acting with intent to pervert the course of justice.
While her sentence was handed down, another woman and a young man, both charged with offences linked to the murder, appeared at Sydney’s Downing Centre Court.
The outcome of those appearances were not made available at the time of going to press last night.
The woman was the girlfriend of the man charged with Senior Constable Rixon’s murder, Michael Jacobs, 48, at the time of the incident on March 2 this year.
Jacobs could face trial in the NSW Supreme Court within months after an arraignment hearing on December 7.
Sampson’s sentencing hearing revealed the extent of the other woman’s alleged role in the matter as well as that of the young man.
He can not be named for legal reasons.
Weeks after the murder, police intercepted a phone call between Sampson and the young man.
The crown prosecutor relayed evidence that Sampson had acted as the “mouthpiece” between the woman and young man, delivering the message to take the bullets – .38 calibre cartridges – from a handbag and to hide them in a drain, inadvertently revealing to police where they would be.
Sampson’s solicitor based his client’s defence on that fact, saying she had not hindered the discovery of evidence, but had actually alerted police to it.
Judge Payne said she recognised there was no pre-meditation and that Sampson’s role was less significant.
In handing down Sampson’s sentence, Judge Pain said, in her view, “nothing other than full-time custody is appropriate.”
Yesterday’s sentence will be added to a nine- month term Sampson is already serving for drug supply offences handed down in June.
If eligible for parole, she could be released by September 2014.