Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Trio jailed over disabled man's death

Two men and a teenager have been jailed for covering up the brutal torture and killing of an intellectually disabled man.

Christopher O'Brien, 22, died after being viciously assaulted over two days at his Melbourne home in March last year.

His skeletal remains were found five months later in the Dandenong Creek wrapped in a sleeping bag.

Shalendra Singh, 23, Darren Charles Summers, 37, and an 18-year-old man who cannot be named each pleaded guilty to being an accessary to manslaughter.

During their sentencing on Tuesday, the court heard that Mr O'Brien, who had an intellectual age of 14, was grilled over the theft of a bracelet and mobile phone before being punched and kicked, spat on and verbally abused and attacked with ashtrays and sticks.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry said the viciousness and cruelty of the attack almost defied belief.

The court heard that Summers, Singh and the youth cleaned the house in Noble Park to destroy forensic evidence after Mr O'Brien died in the loungeroom.

Summers loaded items used in the killing into plastic bags and burnt them in a 44-gallon drum in his backyard, disposing of the ashes at an unknown location.

Singh and Summers also lied to police to conceal what had happened.

Singh was jailed for two years and three months and must serve 14 months before being eligible for parole.

Summers was jailed for two-and-a-half years and must serve a minimum of 16 months.

The 18-year-old was sentenced to 18 months in a youth justice centre.

In sentencing, Justice Lasry said that while the trio did not cause Mr O'Brien's death, the brutal killing resulted in his family suffering an agonising loss.

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