Hike sentence

A hitman sentenced to life | Bendigo Advertiser

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Gregory James Thurlow was no angel but would have become a good family man if given the chance, his uncle says. Instead, his life was taken when his housemate Mark Stephen Murphy repeatedly hit the 27-year-old on the head with a hammer in North Brisbane more than 25 years ago. Having escaped punishment since the murder of Mr Thurlow on October 2, 1996, ‘justice has finally been served’ at the Brisbane Supreme Court. Murphy sobbed quietly in the dock on Wednesday as he waited to hear his fate – wiping tears from his t-shirt and refusing to peek into a crowded public gallery. He wept openly as he pleaded guilty to the single charge of murder. Mr Thurlow’s uncle Ray was emotional in court, saying it was hard to hear what happened after his nephew disappeared all those years ago. Mr Thurlow was last seen alive leaving a Bray Park home in a green 1980 VC Holden Commodore sedan with Murphy the day before he died. The previous night he had been arrested by the police and had spent the night in the Brisbane guardhouse. Murphy was livid with his housemate, later telling police that Mr Thurlow was a nuisance bringing unnecessary attention to the house. The couple drank and injected drugs at a friend’s house before Murphy’s rage erupted as they drove home and he decided his housemate had to die. “He (Murphy) described Thurlow as a petty criminal…he was disruptive, selfish, loud and obnoxious,” prosecutor Todd Fuller told the court. Murphy struck Mr. Thurlow once in the side of the head with a hammer hidden under the car seat. Mr Thurlow jumped out of the car, trying to escape, but was trapped in a barbed wire fence. Murphy caught up to him, smashing Mr. Thurlow a second time in the forehead, knocking him out. He stuffed Mr Thurlow’s body into the trunk of the car, but punched the housemate again in response to his moans. “In his description to finish him off, leaving him silent and covered in blood,” Mr. Fuller said. Mr Thurlow’s body remained wrapped in plastic in the trunk for ‘two or three days’ before Murphy drove to a state forest near Inskip Point north of Brisbane to dispose of it. Murphy married and had three daughters, but was always a suspect in Mr Thurlow’s disappearance. He was eventually arrested by cold case investigators in 2020. Murphy’s attorney said his client was “deeply remorseful”. “His actions have caused them endless grief and pain, and he understands that nothing he says can ease their suffering,” he added. Ray Thurlow said the legal proceedings finally brought the family to an end after more than two decades. But Mr Thurlow’s parents had died still holding out hope that their son was still alive and would walk through the door. “There was probably that doubt, but I think they wanted to maintain that belief,” Ray Thurlow told reporters outside the court. “It’s probably nice that they’ve since died and haven’t found out what really happened to him.” Ray Thurlow said his nephew was no angel and was in trouble at the time. “But he had a good family and I think he would have become a good man and a good family man if given the opportunity, but that was taken away from him,” he added. Judge Peter Applegarth sentenced Murphy to life in prison, saying, “Justice has finally been served.” Australian Associated Press

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