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  • Jail for man who agreed to help ‘kill Bill’

    2018 - 07.03

    A WELLSFORD manwhoagreed to help murderKerang man William ‘Bill’ Stevenson on Christmas Day 2013 will serve 10 yearsinjail.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Darren Lewis, 47, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced in Bendigo Supreme Court on March 17 to 10 years and ninemonths jail,with a non-parole period of eight years and three months.

    His sentence was not able to be made publicwhile his co-accused, Danielle Kerr, was on trial for Mr Stevenson’smurder.

    Kerr pleaded guiltyin the Supreme Courton Monday and will face a formal plea hearing in May.

    In heropening at Lewis’plea hearing, Crown Prosecutor Lesley Taylor said the dayMr Stevenson died Lewis had agreed to go along with Kerr’s plan to “kill Bill”, telling her he would step in and kill him if things went wrong.

    The court heardthe pair had takenMr Stevenson to an isolated piece of road in Kamarookabefore Kerrkilledhimwith a rock, a hunting knife and a branch, then the pair puthis body in the boot of the car, drove it to Wellsford Forrestand set it alight.

    Ms Taylor said Lewisadmitted to having driven the car to chase Mr Stevenson down afterKerr stabbed him,that healso hit Mr Stevensononce with a stick, and that he had assisted with burning the body and dispersing the remains.

    Victim impact statements from the deceased man’s daughter, mother, and brotherwere then read out at the plea hearing.

    Andrew Stevensonusedwords such as”gut-wrenching, numb, in shock and raw” to describe how he feltabout his brother’s death, and describedhow it had impacted his family.

    “Our Christmases have been stolen,” he said.

    Kathryn Stevenson, Mr Stevenson’s mother,said she was also left numb and devastated because of her son’s untimely death.

    “The pain has not lessened. This has torn apart a close-knit family,” she said.

    She said the last words she got to say to her son were “Merry Christmas”.

    “Never did it occur to me theywould be the last words I would say to him,” she said.

    Mr Lewis’ defence lawyerDermot Dannsaid he understood it was a “terrible and senseless” crime his client had been involved with, and acknowledgedthe terrible pain ithad caused for the deceased man’sfamily.

    Mr Dann told the courtLewis had a limited education and abackground as a truck driver whoused to move around a lot,before injuryforced him out of work and saw him turn to using the methamphetamine icein recent years.

    Hesaid Lewis and Kerr had only known each other a few weeksbefore the incidentoccurred andon Christmas Eve, the pair had spent the night using icewith Mr Stevenson, after purchasing 25 “whacks” or points.

    He also said Lewis said he did notsleep at all that nightbecause of the effects of the drug, and had made statements to police indicating the plan to kill Mr Stevenson took place while using ice.

    He said his client hadagreed to be there as a “backer” in case Kerr was overpowered by Mr Stevenson.

    In sentencingLewis on March 17,Judge Terry Forrest saidwhileLewis had shownremorse, co-operatedwith authorities andprovided evidence which added “substantially” to the Crown’s case, he was an active participant in a pre-planned murder.

    “You are jointly responsible for ending a man’s life,” he said.

    “It was you who drove after him. You assisted in a lengthy, cowardly attack.

    “I regard your objective criminality as high.”

    He described the victim impact statements as “moving documents” and saidhe would take family members’ suffering into account when sentencing.

    “Their grief is profound and palpable,” he said.

    Judge Forrestsaid if it wasn’t for the level of remorse shown, Lewiscould have been looking at asentence of about18 years.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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