‘Car accident’ killer jailed: family seek answers – Sydney Morning Herald

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Murdered ... Pam and Bill Weightman.

Murdered … Pam and Bill Weightman. Photo: Supplied

The family of a murdered couple whose deaths were wrongly attributed to a car crash want the government to launch an independent investigation into the actions of the police responsible for the case.

After a first conviction was quashed on appeal, a Supreme Court jury found Terry Mark Donai guilty of drugging and strangling Pamela, 50, and William “Bill” Weightman, 51, in their Glen Alpine home in January 2000.

With the Weightmans’ adopted son David Weightman, Donai pushed their car, with the bodies in it, over an embankment at Heathcote.

Police and a forensic pathologist missed the fact the Weightmans might have been murdered until David, 20 at the time of the murders, confessed to his relatives four years later.

Yesterday, Donai was sentenced to a maximum of 40 years with a non-parole period of 30 years for each murder, with the second killing accumulated upon the first by three years.

Justice Peter Hidden acknowledged the tortured history of the case and the terrible effect it has had on Mrs Weightman’s sister, Margaret Urwin.

“I am particularly conscious of the agony she and the family must have suffered waiting so long for this offender to come to justice,” he said.

Police put the couple’s death down to a car accident, but Mrs Urwin and her husband, Alan, were convinced the Weightmans met with foul play. They kept up the pressure on their nephew until he had finally confessed to murdering his parents for his $ 800,000 inheritance.

Outside the court, Mr Urwin said the family has had “no explanation whatsoever” for the failure of police to investigate the case at the time when “all the evidence pointed to a murder”.

“For four years we had to do the job for NSW Police. For four years they were telling us that this was a motor vehicle accident, that we’re being paranoid, and get on with our life,” Mr Urwin said.

“I am asking the Premier for a full and independent investigation into this to determine why NSW Police refused to investigate an obvious double murder, which they left to the family to get evidence to get two murders bought to justice in NSW.”

During the trial, the deputy senior Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen, SC, said that in performing the post-mortem examinations, forensic pathologist Allan Cala had mistakenly recorded the autopsy results of a different brain in Mrs Weightman’s autopsy records.

When David confessed to the murder, he claimed Donai, his friend, planned to drug the couple with a sedative and then smother them in return for $ 17,000.

Donai killed Mrs Weightman before asking David to help him strangle Mr Weightman, who struggled in vain to save his life.

David, who pleaded guilty to the double murder, was jailed for 22 years after a court found he suffered from either schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and had used drugs that impaired his judgment and rendered him more susceptible to being under the influence of Donai, who is more than a decade older.

In sentencing Donai, Justice Hidden said David had admitted during Donai’s two trials to fabricating the history and symptoms of his psychiatric health to lessen his own culpability.

But he refused the Crown’s call for a life sentence, saying “justice demands an appropriate relativity” between David and Donai’s punishment, and it would not be fair if Donai was never eligible for parole when David will be.

In 2007, Justice Elizabeth Fullerton gave Donai two life sentences. Today, a visibly shaken Mrs Urwin said she was angry that Donai’s punishment had effectively been reduced.

“Nothing is going to bring Pam and Bill back … so you don’t move on, you live with it,” she said.

Victims’ advocate Howard Brown said the police investigation “was flawed right from the start”.

“This was a crime committed purely for profit for no other reason, and if that doesn’t fall into the worst case category and deserve a life sentence for both murders, I don’t know what we expect of our judicial system any more,” Mr Brown said.

Donai will be eligible for parole on June 15, 2039.

car-accident – Google News

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