A MOTHER and son were found guilty yesterday 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 just before 3pm, after four weeks of trial proceedings. Sentencing submissions are set down for November 30 in the Supreme Court in Sydney.
Aquilina had earlier pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter – alleging he was provoked into committing the crime.
Dawson, his mother, 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 near Glen Innes 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 said the verdict was the result of a “serious and complex” investigation, which took New England detectives as far away 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 past 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. 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.”
Mr Trevett’s brother, Val, was also pleased with the court’s verdict.
“I am quite happy about it,” he said yesterday from his Glen Innes home.
“The detectives and the police force have done a wonderful job. We’re all relieved to hear the news.”
Mr Trevett described his brother as a good man who was missed.
“He was quite a good man who had never done anyone harm. We will miss him,” he said.
“We can’t bring him back, but the verdict is as good as we could expect.
“We are now waiting for sentencing.
“Hopefully it comes before Christmas.”