Bru­tal killer gets life


North Coast Times - - FRONT PAGE - Mark Don­ald­son

THE mother of Clark­son mur­der vic­tim Ja­son Edge wept tears of re­lief as her son’s killer was handed a life sen­tence with a sig­nif­i­cant 25year min­i­mum last week.

Two other men in­volved in the crime were also jailed.

Supreme Court Jus­tice Lindy Jenk­ins said Johnathan Derek Pi­hema (30) had shown lit­tle re­morse over the 2015 An­zac Day killing, which she de­scribed as “bru­tal”.

Mr Edge’s body was dumped at sea and never found.

“Your acts, apart from be­ing crim­i­nal and ap­pallingly horrific, have caused much heartache for Mr Edge’s friends and fam­ily,” Jus­tice Jenk­ins said.

“To the author­i­ties, to Mr Edge’s fam­ily, to the com­mu­nity and to this court, you have never ac­knowl­edged your re­spon­si­bil­ity in Mr Edge’s death.”

An­other man in­volved with Mr Edge’s killing, Christo­pher Joe Moir (23), was sen­tenced to 12 years jail with a 10-year min­i­mum for man­slaugh­ter.

A third man, Matthew James Howarth (28), was sen­tenced to six years as an ac­ces­sory af­ter the fact for help­ing dis­pose of Mr Edge’s body in a dinghy.

His sen­tence was in­creased to nine years with the ad­di­tion of mul­ti­ple drugs charges. He will be el­i­gi­ble for pa­role in seven years.

The trio showed lit­tle emo­tion through­out the hear­ing, which was held in the District Court build­ing.

Mr Edge’s mother Dawn Edge said the fam­ily were happy with the out­come.

“I’m just glad it’s over… it’s been a long process,” she said.

“How can you move on? I would pre­fer to have my son back to at least give him a burial, but that’s not go­ing to hap­pen.”

The court heard Car­ra­mar res­i­dent Mr Edge (29) was beaten by Pi­hema and choked by Moir at Moir’s Clark­son home.

Moir’s then-part­ner Jodi Ab­bott had lured Mr Edge to the prop­erty, un­der the as­sump­tion he would be buy­ing drugs.

In­stead, Pi­hema was wait­ing with a gun and other weapons to ac­cost Mr Edge in a bed­room over a debt.

The pair strug­gled dur­ing which Mr Edge be­gan to over­power his at­tacker. Pi­hema called for the help of Moir, who re­strained Mr Edge in a choke hold.

Pi­hema fur­ther as­saulted the vic­tim once he was sub­dued, in­clud­ing stomp­ing on his head.

Jus­tice Jenk­ins said there was ev­i­dence the as­sault, which lasted up to 45 min­utes, was bru­tal with a “con­sid­er­able amount of blood shed by the de­ceased in the bed­room”.

Pi­hema sought the help of his friend Howarth, who was a drug dealer, to dis­pose of Mr Edge’s body at sea. All the men in­volved, in­clud­ing Mr Edge, were metham­phetamine users.

In a mov­ing mo­ment, Mrs Edge read out her vic­tim im­pact state­ment.

Fam­ily mem­bers and friends were in tears in the pub­lic gallery as she de­scribed the trauma for her and her hus­band Rob of los­ing their only son.

“We can't give him the fu­neral he de­serves or a place of rest for him,” she read to the court. “Ev­ery day is a strug­gle, ev­ery day we go on liv­ing a life with­out our son. I am un­able to com­pre­hend how th­ese three ac­cused can dis­re­gard a hu­man life in such a vile and in­hu­mane way.”

Mrs Edge said her son’s drug prob­lems be­gan af­ter he was the vic­tim in a se­ri­ous car crash caused by a drunk driver.

She said Mr Edge de­vel­oped se­vere post trau­matic stress dis­or­der, hav­ing suf­fered “mul­ti­ple horrific in­juries”. Be­fore then he had been a keen sports­man, rep­re­sent­ing Wan­neroo in grade cricket.

She dis­agreed with the me­dia’s por­trayal of him as a drug ad­dict.

“The Ja­son you see in the me­dia is not the Ja­son we knew and loved,” she said.

In sen­tenc­ing Pi­hema, Jus­tice Jenk­ins ac­knowl­edged he was a fa­ther and that a ref­er­ence from his mother said she had never seen a vi­o­lent side to him.

New Zealand-born Pi­hema is not an Aus­tralian ci­ti­zen. Jus­tice Jenk­ins said he could be de­ported once he had served his min­i­mum sen­tence.

She ac­knowl­edged Moir, who was born in South Africa, had shown re­morse for his ac­tions. Moir suf­fered post trau­matic stress dis­or­der and de­pres­sion since the in­ci­dent.

In sen­tenc­ing Howarth, she con­sid­ered he had mul­ti­ple qual­i­fi­ca­tions in blue col­lar in­dus­tries, but said he had also shown a pen­chant for crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

Ja­son Edge was beaten and choked to death.

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