Edward James Kelly of Broadwater known around town as Ned Kelly.
Edward James Kelly of Broadwater known around town as Ned Kelly.

Judge to reach decision on beheading case by year's end

JONATHON Stenberg woke his wife and said " I got p***ed off and shot our neighbour" the night he executed Broadwater's Edward "Ned" Kelly in his sleep and cut off his head, the NSW Supreme Court has heard.

Dressed in a dark suit and wearing reading glasses, Stenberg, an ex-defence force engineer, showed no emotion as sentencing proceedings began today.

Mr Kelly's sister Margaret Simmons was more animated - asking her brother's killer where he had disposed of the head and huffing and rolling her eyes as the defence alleged Stenberg was suffering from a psychotic form of depression on the night of the murder.

Mr Kelly's body was found by a concerned friend on Thursday, June 21.

After forcing entry through a back door, the friend saw a pool of blood on the kitchen floor and dialled 000.

Police discovered Mr Kelly had been decapitated, there were two blood stained knives nearby, an Akubra had been placed where the head should have been, and there was evidence an accelerant had been used to try and set the house on fire.

Mr Kelly's head has never been found.

Stenberg's barrister Chris Bruce claimed the severing of the head was not a gratuitous act, but one that was done in a panic, after the killing, as a way to dispose of the evidence.

When Justice Monika Schmidt said she was "struggling with that submission", Ms Simmons held up her fist triumphantly and exclaimed "yes".

Court documents reveal Stenberg and Mr Kelly had a long history of conflict.

The day before the murder, Stenberg was cutting down a tree with his friend Greg Ellis when he and Mr Kelly got into "a heated argument".

A neighbour told police he had heard Stenberg say words to the effect of "I am going to f*** you up".

In the early hours of the following morning, Stenberg walked into Mr Kelly's house and shot him in the head.

He went back to his house, told his wife what had happened and said he would need to get some money and "go away".

In the weeks that followed Stenberg travelled through Queensland to the Northern Territory and was eventually found armed with a 9mm Glock pistol and hiding out in a barricade in remote bushland 50km south of Darwin.

While his lawyers argued the murder was not premeditated, the Crown alleged Stenberg had shown clear intent when he took Mr Ellis to his backyard shed the day before, pointed to a gun and told him he was going to kill Mr Kelly with it.

It was submitted that Stenberg would likely be in his 70s before he was released from jail and that the "very grave" circumstances surrounding the killing warranted a "significant" term of imprisonment.

Judgement was reserved but Justice Schmidt indicated she would reach her decision by the end of the year.

Outside court, Ms Simmons said Stenberg was a "worthless scumbag" and she hoped to see justice served.

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