Pair sentenced for killing Timothy Pullen over drug debt
TWO men have been sentenced for killing Mackay man Timothy John Pullen over a drug debt bounty.
Sunshine Coast man Zane Tray Lincoln, 37, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and possessing drugs in the Supreme Court in Mackay on Tuesday and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Dysart man Benjamin Francis Graeme Oakley, 28, also pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
The men had been facing a murder trial, but pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of manslaughter.
Justice Duncan McMeekin said Mr Pullen owed drug debts of about $7000, and the Odin's Warriors motorcycle gang had placed a $30,000 bounty on his head.
He said Lincoln had been the "principal organiser" in a plan to abduct Mr Pullen in order to get him to "work off the debt he owed".
The judge said prior to his death, Mr Pullen had been staying at the home of former Mackay couple Nicholas Voorwinden and Kiera Jeanette McKay.
He said Voorwinden and McKay had agreed to unlock the door to allow a "gang" to enter the unit about 4am on April 16, 2012.
Voorwinden and McKay both pleaded guilty to manslaughter in March last year and were sentenced to five years in jail.
The judge said McKay had identified Lincoln and Oakley, but said there had been two other people who entered the unit, who have never been identified.
The court heard a witness saw Mr Pullen's body being "pushed" into the rear seat of a car on the night.
The judge said it was unknown how Mr Pullen had been killed, but said there had been pools of blood found on the couch and in the unit.
The judge accepted defence barrister Andrew Boe's submission that Oakley had been less culpable than Lincoln.
Mr Boe told the court that Oakley had accompanied Lincoln out of a "misguided sense of loyalty" to an older friend who had given him money in prison.
The judge accepted that Oakley had been drinking with Lincoln on the night of April 15, and had learnt of the plan between 11pm and midnight.
He said Oakley had been "in the wrong place, at the wrong time".
Defence barrister Jeff Hunter said it was likely Lincoln, a former business owner who moved from New Zealand to Australia when he was 16, would be deported after his parole release. Lincoln is married with five children.
The judge said Oakley had been out of prison five weeks prior to Mr Pullen's death, and had moved to Mackay for work.
He'd previously been convicted on drugs and dishonesty charges and on one assault.
During sentencing, victim impact statements were heard from Mr Pullen's parents and three sisters.
Mr Pullen's mother, Leanne, read her statement from the witness box, and said she was a "shell" of the person she used to be.
"Every day I wonder whether today will be the day we know where Tim is," she said.
"We have huge questions that have never been answered. Where is Tim and what happened to him?"
Mr Pullen's father Gary said in his statement that he had been unable to work in the four years since his son's disappearance.
Mr Pullen's sister Angela Head said she missed her brother's "witty personality, care bear hugs and caring nature".
Sister Sherry Diefenbach said her children missed their "crazy, fun-loving uncle".
Lincoln was sentenced to nine years for manslaughter, and an additional two years for possessing a commercial quantity - 42 pure grams - of methylamphetamine.
Lincoln has already been in jail for 1047 days and will be eligible for parole in July 2018.
Oakley has been in jail for 447 days and will be eligible for parole in November next year.