A MOTHER and son were this afternoon found guilty of murdering Glen Innes greengrocer Adrian Trevett in 2010.
Karen Dawson and Matthew Aquilina were found guilty by a jury of nine women and three men who deliberated for about a day.
They handed down their verdict to Justice Geoff Bellew in Newcastle Supreme Court today just before 3pm after four weeks of trial proceedings.
Sentencing submissions are set down for November 30 in Sydney Supreme Court.
Aquilina had earlier pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter – alleging he was provoked into committing the crime.
His mother, Karen Dawson, had pleaded not guilty to murder.
The court heard the pair was involved in a joint-criminal enterprise involved in the death of Mr Trevett at an old butter factory at Red Range on October 28, 2010.
The court heard the pair questioned Mr Trevett for several hours before he was strangled to death with a noose.
The Crown alleged the mother and son dumped Mr Trevett’s body in bushland near Tenterfield. Mr Trevett’s body wasn’t discovered until January last year.
Leading officers in charge of the case told Fairfax the verdict was the result of a “serious and complex” investigation which took New England detectives as far as Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory leading up to the arrests.
New England crime manager Detective Inspector Greig Stier was one of the officers at the forefront of Strike Force Vallen. He described the investigation as a “team effort”.
“It was a nice reward for what was two years of some pretty hard work in relation to the investigation and also the last five weeks of getting all the witnesses here to Newcastle and hearing the evidence,” Inspector Stier said.
“We’re happy with the way the evidence was presented. It was rewarding to work for such a lovely family, a great New England family who have been terrifc during the whole ordeal in assisting us from the outset when Adrian’s brother came to police on November 15, 2010.
“The prosecution obviously alleged it was a planned murder and the evidence we obtained certainly indicated that the people involved in Mr Trevett’s murder had in ways tortured him in his last hours of life."