Heinous, chilling vigilante killer jailed for life
Karen Sweeney |
The ringleader of the heinous and chilling vigilante murder of a Victorian father, buried in a remote and shallow grave, has been jailed for life.
Albert Thorn will be nearing 90 before he’s eligible for parole, after a jury found him guilty of the murder of Bradley Lyons in a remote part of eastern Victoria in December 2018.
Mr Lyons was set upon and beaten with fists and a metal pole by a group of men, led by now 58-year-old Thorn, in the bedroom of his home on December 2.
He was then bound and bundled into the boot of Thorn’s car, which was driven to his rural property.
Mr Lyons, a father of three children and several step-children, was left in the car while his attackers plotted their next move – tying him to as massage table where he was assaulted and tortured.
The men wanted him to confess to allegations he had sexually assaulted children.
Thorn and others then bound and shrouded him, returned him to the car boot and drove him to a remote area of bushland at Double Bridges where Justice Andrew Tinney found Thorn shot him to the back of the head at close range with a shotgun.
A jury found Thorn guilty of murder while Jordan Bottom and Rikki Smith were convicted of manslaughter. The other men will be sentenced at a later date.
Mr Lyons was either in or beside a shallow grave when he was shot, and his body was buried and covered with branches and leaves.
By the time his body was discovered months later it was so badly decomposed an autopsy couldn’t determine the extent of any soft-tissue injuries, but revealed he suffered the shotgun wound to the head and a broken jaw and cheekbone.
Justice Tinney found Thorn had not showed a hint of remorse for his crimes against a man he didn’t even know, but instead displayed “truly chilling callousness and disregard for the sanctity of human life”.
That Thorn will go forward with little prospect of a reasonable life after prison was an unavoidable by-product of his heinous crimes and the age at which he carried them out, he said.
Justice Tinney said Mr Lyons, known as BJ, was precious to his community and those who loved him, and his life was taken away deliberately and heartlessly by men who first subjected him to a truly horrifying ordeal.
In a statement, Mr Lyons’ stepdaughter said she and her siblings had been humiliated by a crime they did not even commit.
Prosecutor Ray Gibson KC previously reflected that Thorn had committed his calculated and premeditated killing on the basis of wanting to protect children, while actually causing the opposite.
He described the impact on Mr Lyons’ own children as nothing short of tragic, highlighting the very evil of vigilantism.
Thorn will be eligible for parole after serving 32 years.AAP