'Kill the bastard': Mum dobs in son for brutal bashing

A MAN is facing the possibility of time behind bars after his own mother, who was co-accused of the same crime, testified against him.

A jury has found Brent William Ibbotson guilty of grievous bodily harm for a 2013 assault that left a man with facial fractures requiring surgery.

Brent William Ibbotson (left) and Arthur Graham Otto leave Gladstone Courthouse.
Brent William Ibbotson (left) and Arthur Graham Otto leave Gladstone Courthouse. Emily Burley

His mother Leanne Otto, also known as Leanne Barnham, and her father-in-law Arthur Graham Otto, also known as Graham Otto, were charged with the same offence for aiding the crime.

On the first day of their joint trial last week Leanne pleaded guilty.

The other two went before a jury in Gladstone District Court.

Their victim Robert Polley, 62, told the court his family and the Otto-Ibbotsons were in an ongoing civil dispute at the time of the assault.

Mr Polley said he'd agreed to take ownership of the Otto's excavator after their earthmoving business failed.

He said he couldn't remember the specifics of the arrangement, but he was the legal owner of the excavator, according to the finance company.

Crown prosecutor Alexandra Baker told the court the Otto-Ibbotsons had shown up at Mr Polley's Calliope property on February 11, 2013, to steal the excavator back.

She said when Mr Polley tried to stop them, Brent Ibbotson punched him twice in the face.

Ms Baker alleged another man, Michael Ashman, then hit Mr Polley over the head with a beer bottle.


Brent William Ibbotson and his mother, Leanne Otto.
Brent William Ibbotson and his mother, Leanne Otto. Facebook

The Otto-Ibbotsons took the excavator from the property while Mr Polley was transferred to Gladstone Hospital, and later Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, for treatment.

Titanium plates were fitted in Mr Polley's face.

He told the court he didn't see who hit him, but he heard Graham yelling words to the effect of; "Kill the bastard".

"I know Graham's voice pretty well," Mr Polley said.

"I didn't see it come out of his mouth, but I heard it."

He said he was more focused on his injuries than what was going on around him.

"I felt all the blood running down my face," Mr Polley said.

However, when Leanne took the stand, after already being sentenced to 18 months suspended jail time for her part in the crime, she said it was her son who threw the punches.

She said Brent and her husband, Trevor Otto, had threatened her not to reveal what really happened.

Initially their story was Mr Polley had fallen and hit his head while trying to stop the excavator.

But Leanne told the court she changed her story in 2015, because her son and Trevor were out of her life, and she no longer had to be afraid of them.

"My son was no longer threatening me," Leanne said.

"I went (to the police) on my own accord ... to tell the truth.

"Trevor used to drill me, you don't know the life that I led."

Defence barristers for Ibbotson and Graham both argued the assault never took place, and Mr Polley's injuries were the result of a fall.

They said Leanne had lied to implicate her son, in order to avoid actual jail time herself, and Mr Polley had used his self-caused injuries to get back at the Otto-Ibbotsons because of the ongoing dispute.

Both Leanne and Mr Polley denied the accusations.

Two medical experts on behalf of the Gladstone and Brisbane hospitals gave evidence that Mr Polley's face injuries or head cut could be caused from a fall, but it was unlikely both injuries could result at the same time from a single fall.

Leanne told the court Mr Polley had walked towards her with his fist raised, and that was why Ibbotson had punched him.

Mr Polley's story differed, and he said he was crouched over at the time and hit from over his shoulder.

Leanne told the court Trevor was in jail at the time of the assault, but had arranged for the family to collect the excavator with the help of Michael Ashman and another man, both of which the Otto-Ibbotsons had never met before, but were there as "muscle".

"(Mr Ashman) was there to help if any trouble occurred," she said.

Leanne said she didn't believe the plan had originally involved any violence.

"It was just to get (the excavator) off the property and get it all sorted."

An investigating detective told the court that upon hearing Leanne's new version of events in 2015, police asked Mr Ashman to attend an interview but he never showed up.

The detective said police had not since been able to locate Mr Ashman, but still wanted to speak to him.

The jury didn't believe the defence's argument that Mr Polley had fallen.

It took them two days to deliver a guilty verdict for Brent and his grandfather Graham.

The two are expected to be sentenced in Rockhampton next week.

Topics:  editors picks gladstonecourt

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