A man will spend at least 14 years behind bars after he bashed a pensioner to death before stuffing his rotting body in a surfboard bag and hiding it in a communal laundry.
Mark Kenneth Jenkin, 47, was found guilty last year of the manslaughter of Mark Dower, 56, who was staying at his housing commission unit in the Wollongong suburb of Mangerton south of Sydney.
Mr Dover was bashed so severely over a period of days in March 2015 that a tooth was found in his stomach, along with broken ribs, fractures to his upper jaw, a bleed on the brain and ‘severe trauma’ to the front of his mouth.
Jenkin was also found guilty of conspiring to murder a witness who had seen Mr Dower’s body lying in the bathtub of Jenkin’s home.
In the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney on Thursday, Jenkin was sentenced to 19 years with a non-parole period of 14 years for the ‘extremely serious’ offences.
Justice Peter Hamill cited Jenkin’s criminal past as he described his risk of future violent offending was ‘significant’, news.com.au reported.
‘I was not satisfied that Jenkin formed an intention to kill nor inflict grievous bodily harm,’ Justice Hamill told the court.
‘However, I found that the deliberate unlawful assault by Jenkin during March 22-28 substantially contributed to Mr Dower’s death, and that he was guilty of manslaughter.
‘His conduct demonstrates a remarkable lack of remorse and empathy.’
Justice Hamill also read out a victim impact statement from Mr Dower’s daughter, who described him as ‘her hero’ and ‘the kindest man on the planet’.
‘She wants to laugh with him and hug him again. She is lost in pain and endless grief,’ the judge read.
He then added: ‘I hope that in time the pain leaves, although I don’t know that it will.’
The judge also thanked Mr Dower’s friends for keeping a ‘quiet vigil’ during court proceedings, the Illawarra Mercury reported.
‘All human life is sacred. Almost every homicide has devastating impact on those affected by it,’ Justice Hamill said.
During Jenkin’s judge-only trial last year, the court heard how Mr Dower was assaulted over a period of days in late March 2015 before his body was put in a surfboard bag and thrown from a two-storey balcony.
It was then hidden in the communal laundry at the housing commission block for several weeks.
Residents complained of a ‘strong putrifying odour’ before police made the grisly discovery on April 16, 2015.
Senior Constable Pep Reid told the court a surfboard sock in the laundry was wet with a ‘foul-smelling fluid’.
‘There was fluids and maggots all around that area,’ she told the court.
‘I saw a hand through the tear and the skin was black.’
The Crown also submitted videos from Jenkin’s phone as evidence.
Jenkin could be heard in one video in a bathroom verbally abusing Mr Dower- who at that point was injured, frail and had defecated.
The court also heard how Mr Dower, 56, had turned to alcohol after the sudden deaths of wife and father and had no fixed address in the lead-up to his own death.
Mr Dower received welfare payments from both Australia and Finland after working as an English teacher in Europe since about 1980.
Jenkin will be eligible for parole in 2030.