Mur­derer gets 22 years

Friend left to die on lonely coun­try road

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - LORETTA LOHBERGER

A TA­ROONA man who kicked and bashed his friend, Don­ald Wil­liam Crow, to death on a lonely coun­try road has been sen­tenced to 22 years’ jail, with a non-pa­role pe­riod of 13½ years.

In Fe­bru­ary, a jury found Rus­sell John Nowoczyn­ski, 49, guilty of mur­der­ing Mr Crow, 39, on the night of June 11, 2016, near In­ter­laken in the Cen­tral High­lands.

Chief Jus­tice Alan Blow sen­tenced Nowoczyn­ski in the Supreme Court in Ho­bart last week.

Chief Jus­tice Blow said Nowoczyn­ski mur­dered Mr Crow, a friend and work col­league, “by beat­ing and kicking him to death on a lonely coun­try road” dur­ing a night away at Mr Crow’s fam­ily shack.

Af­ter spend­ing most of the day and evening to­gether, Chief Jus­tice Blow said, the two men went to Oat­lands to buy al­co­hol and a vi­o­lent fight oc­curred on the way back to the shack. He said Mr Crow was in­tox­i­cated at the time.

“I do not un­der­stand why Mr Nowoczyn­ski and Mr Crow started to fight, and I do not un­der­stand why Mr Nowoczyn­ski, hav­ing over­pow­ered Mr Crow, con­tin­ued to as­sault him so vi­ciously that, in the end, he mur­dered a de­fence­less man,” he said.

“While Mr Crow was ly­ing on the road and dy­ing, Mr Nowoczyn­ski took some ‘selfie’ pho­to­graphs of him­self with his mo­bile phone, recorded a short video of him­self which he later deleted, re­moved Mr Crow’s jacket, and put it in the ve­hi­cle. It was snow­ing. Mr Nowoczyn­ski found Mr Crow’s keys and drove off, leav­ing him there dy­ing.”

Chief Jus­tice Blow said Nowoczyn­ski’s com­ments to po­lice that Mr Crow be­came ag­gres­sive and at­tacked him, and that he was taken by sur­prise were not re­li­able.

“He could well have lied in an at­tempt to shift as much blame as pos­si­ble on to Mr Crow,” he said.

Dur­ing the trial, state foren­sic pathol­o­gist Dr Don­ald Ritchie said Mr Crow suf­fered at least 12 blows or kicks to the head, and he found stones in Mr Crow’s oe­soph­a­gus, just above the stom­ach, and in his throat and air­ways lead­ing to the lungs.

Chief Jus­tice Blow said he was sat­is­fied be­yond rea­son­able doubt Nowoczyn­ski in­tended to kill Mr Crow.

“It is a par­tic­u­larly bad ex­am­ple of an in­ten­tional killing be­cause of the fe­roc­ity of the force used, the forc­ing of gravel into the vic­tim’s mouth, and the aban­don­ment of the dy­ing man on the road in the mid­dle of nowhere, in the mid­dle of the night, in the mid­dle of win­ter,” he said.

Chief Jus­tice Blow said the mur­der had had “a ter­ri­ble im­pact on all his fam­ily”.

“They will miss him greatly for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Out­side the court, Mr Crow’s fa­ther, Phillip Crow, and step­mother Gail Kenny, said Don­ald Crow was a com­pas­sion­ate and hard­work­ing man who loved his job as a viti­cul­tur­ist and who was much loved by his fi­ancee and three young chil­dren.

“All of the won­der­ful happy life that Don and his fam­ily had has been ended trag­i­cally in such cir­cum­stances that will have dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects for­ever on his fam­ily, es­pe­cially his chil­dren who were so very no­tice­ably close to Don,” Phillip Crow said.

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