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Never to be released: Young men sentenced to life imprisonment since 1990
Louise Hall -
Nov 6, 2015
The state's highest court is grappling
with the question of whether it is appropriate to send a relatively young man to
jail for the rest of his natural life with no possibility of parole.
Twenty-five years since the government
introduced "truth in sentencing"
reforms with the aim of ensuring "life
meant life", criticism of the indeterminate nature of a life sentence
continues, particularly for those
offenders who face several decades of incarceration without hope or expectation
of gaining release.
Leonard, jailed for life for the murder of Stephen Dempsey using a bow and
arrow. He also murdered taxi driver Ezzedine Bahmad.
With life expectancy for men more than
70 years of age, a life sentence for an offender now aged in their 20s or 30s is
for all practical purposes one of 40 or 50 years.
Double murderer Corey Alan Breen, now
28, is facing a life sentence. He embarked on a terrifying crime spree that
included carjacking, multiple assaults of his friends and bystanders
and the stabbing murder of his father
Paul Breen and stepmother Felicia Crawford at their home in Killarney Vale, on
the Central Coast, on March 29, 2013.
Andrew Peter Garforth, jailed for life for the abduction, sexual
assault and murder of Ebony Simpson.
After his arrest, Breen told police he was on his way to kill his mother Debbie
Breen and her boyfriend. He then planned to kill his brother Luke and sister
Ashleigh, but he was intercepted by police when the car he was driving broke
This month Acting
Supreme Court Justice Jane Mathews will decide whether Breen will join a small
but infamous group of men sentenced to life imprisonment aged 30 or younger
since truth in sentencing reforms came into force in 1990.
Andrew Peter Garforth
Pleaded guilty to the abduction, sexual
assault and murder of Ebony Simpson, 9, at Bargo in August 1992. The court found
it was in the worst category of murder and he was sentenced to life imprisonment
without parole aged 29 in July 1993. He unsuccessfully appealed his sentence to
the High Court in 1994. His prisoner status was downgraded from A2 to B in July,
a decision immediately reversed by Corrective Services Minister David Elliott.
Vester and his cousin Brendan sexually
assaulted and murdered nurse Sandra Hoare after she left work at Walgett
Hospital in December 1994. They were attempting to steal her car and used a
machete during the horrific attack. Brendan was 27 and Vester 26 when sentenced
to life imprisonment in 1997. Two years later, Vester fatally stabbed Brendan in
"The bow and arrow butcher"
In 1994 Leonard fired an arrow into the heart of Stephen Dempsey, killed him
then dismembered his body and kept it in a freezer. Months later he and
girlfriend Denise Shipley fatally stabbed taxi driver Ezzedine Bahmad at
Collaroy Plateau. In 1997 aged 24 he was sentenced to life imprisonment on both
charges of murder.
"The Butcher of Wollongong"
Previously known as Mark van Krevel, in June 1998 he fatally bashed shopkeeper
David O'Hearn, 59, in his Albion Park home in a random attack. He mutilated and
dismembered the body and wrote the word Satan on a mirror with the victim's
blood. Two weeks later he bashed and strangled alleged paedophile and
former Wollongong mayor, Frank Arkell, 68. Sentenced to two life sentences
without parole in December 2000, aged 21.
Known as "Doc", Kanaan came from a stable Lebanese Christian family. He became a
member of DK's boys, a gang set up by Danny Karam to sell cocaine in Kings Cross
in the late 1990s. He shot three men unprovoked outside the Five Dock Hotel in
July 1998, killing Michael Hurle and Adam Wright and injuring Ronald Singleton.
In December 1998 he and other gang members executed Karam in a hail of bullets
with plans to take over the drug business. In 1999 he was arrested
following a shoot-out with police in White City.
In 2001 aged 28 he was given two life
sentences with the court finding he has no prospects of rehabilitation. In 2002
he got a third life sentence for Karam's murder. He is confined to a wheelchair.
"Wagga Wagga serial killer".
Harris strangled stroke patient Peter Wennerbom, 62, in Wennerbom's flat in
Wagga Wagga in October 1998. A fortnight later he murdered Yvonne Ford, a
33-year-old woman who had a mild intellectual handicap he had befriended, by
strangulation in her bath tub. Weeks later he strangled his neighbour Ronald
Galvin and disposed of his body in nearby Uranquinty. In December 1999 he
pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and was sentenced to 40 years
imprisonment with a 25-year non parole period for each count of murder.
The Crown successfully appealed and in
December 2000 Harris, 31, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Daniel Leslie Miles
"Killed on the run".
Miles was serving an 18-year jail
sentence for the 1990 murder of his childhood sweetheart, Donna Newland, 16, a
crime he committed at age 18. While in jail he befriended a sex worker, Yolande
Michael, 29. In late July 1999 he escaped from jail and spent the night with
her. The following day he found her in bed with another man at her home in
Sefton and he fatally stabbed her. In July 2002 the Crown successfully appealed
his 19-year minimum, 25-year maximum sentence and he was sentenced to life.
The Sydney student brutally stabbed, bashed and strangled his father Teddy
Gonzales, 46, mother Mary-Loiva Josephine, 43, and sister Clodine, 18, in their
North Ryde home in July 2001. He attempted to make it look like a racially
motivated attack by spray painting the words "F--- off Asians KKK" on a wall in
the house. Ten days before he had attempted to murder his mother by poisoning.
The court heard he feared his parents would take away his car and other
privileges due to his poor university results. He also wished to be the sole
beneficiary of his parents' estate. In May 2004 he was found guilty of three
counts of murder. The day after his 24th
birthday he was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences without parole.
In November 2007 his appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed.
Gonzales maintains his innocence.
West African man, Adanguidi, 27,
murdered the wife and children of his Chinese gay lover Raymond Shen at
Rockdale, on February 1, 2003. He pleaded not guilty on the grounds of
mental illness. But a jury convicted him of bludgeoning Shiquin Zhu, 55, and
shooting Pin Shen, 27, and Christy Bo Shen, 23. The previous night he attacked
Shen, tied him up and held him hostage at his Maroubra unit, demanding $200,000.
In 2005 aged 27 he was sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility
of parole. An appeal in 2006 was dismissed.
Naseam El-Zeyat, Ramzi Aouad
In November 2006 Adnan "Eddie" Darwiche, 30, Naseam "Erdt" El-Zayat, 26, and
Ramzi "Fidel" Aouad, 25, were each sentenced to two consecutive life sentences
for a series of murders carried out in a continuing dispute between three
families of Lebanese descent in south-west Sydney. The Darwiche, Razzak and
Fadha family were involved in rival drug dealing operations.
In October 2003 the men fired at a
Greenacre house using SKS rifles and pistols, killing Ziad "Ziggy" Razzak and
Mervat "Melissa" Nemra. El-Zeyat and Aouad were also given life sentences for
executing Ahmed Fahda at a Punchbowl service station the same month. However
their conviction was quashed in 2011. A re-trial did not go ahead.