Killer who cut off his housemate’s head before throwing it off a bridge and burying the rest of his body in bushland begs judge to hand down a minimum sentence
- Darren Ward Gale faced pre-sentencing hearing at Supreme Court in Hobart
- His lawyer asked for a minimum non-parole period during hearing on Friday
- Gale was found guilty of 2016 murder of his housemate Noel Joseph Ingham
- Mr Ingham’s head was cut off and thrown off a bridge and his body buried
A man found guilty of decapitating his housemate and burying his body in bushland has pleaded for the judge to hand him a minimum non-parole period.
Darren Ward Gale, 53, made the request at a pre-sentencing hearing at the Supreme Court in Hobart, Tasmania, on Friday.
He had earlier been found guilty of the July 2016 murder of Noel Joseph Ingham, 58, at the property they shared in Ulverstone, on the state’s northern coast, The Mercury reported.
During his seven-week trial, he told the court Mr Ingham had been drunk and banged his head on the fish tank in the living room which gave him a ‘big gash’ on his temple, and caused him to stop breathing.
Darren Ward Gale had earlier been found guilty of the July 2016 murder of Noel Joseph Ingham, 58 (pictured), at the property they shared in Ulverstone, on the state’s northern coast
‘There was blood going everywhere. I lifted him but he was too heavy and we fell on the floor. He let out a big breath and I thought “Jesus Christ, I don’t know what to do”,’ Gale told the court.
Gale told the court he decided to ‘clean up’ and remove the body from the property.
But before he got rid of his housemate’s remains, he also drowned Mr Igham’s two pet dogs, the court heard.
He then placed the dead dogs, Mr Igham’s body and a bike into his housemate’s car and drove to Dulverton, south of Ulverstone, and dug a makeshift grave.
Gale initially pleaded not guilty to the murder, but admitted he tried to hide Ingham’s remains because he was ‘scared of being charged with murder’.
Gale said his mindset had been focused on getting rid of ‘everything’ and as a result he told the court: ‘I decided to cut his head off.’
Crown Prosecutor Jackie Hartnett refuted Gale’s claims and instead suggested he had struck his housemate in the head and killed him – allegations Gale strenuously denied.
At the pre-sentencing hearing on Friday, Gale’s lawyer Greg Richardson argued for a minimum non-parole period and claimed Gale would not be a threat to society as he aged.
‘He’s certainly not going to be a danger to anybody in the community in his late 60s.’
He went on to challenge the evidence saying there was not enough to satisfy a court beyond reasonable doubt that the murder had been premeditated.
Mr Richardson also questioned the victim impact statements from Mr Ingham’s children, who he noted had little contact with their father over the last decade.
Crown prosecutor Jackie Hartnett argued that only meant his three children were unable to reconnect because of their father’s death.
‘That opportunity was obviously lost. It’s something that they’ll have to live with but obviously it’s not of their making that that opportunity was taken from them.’
Gale will be sentenced on August 2.
At the pre-sentencing hearing on Friday, Gale’s lawyer Greg Richardson argued for a minimum non-parole period and claimed Gale would not be a threat to society as he aged