Murder accused displayed 'truly appalling conduct'

Justine Jones
Justine Jones Contributed

"YOU wouldn't do that to a family pet dog let alone to someone you profess to have loved."

Defence barrister Jeff Hunter made this statement while talking to a jury about whether murder accused Richard Coburn could have dumped Justine Jones' body into a wheelie bin.

"This case involves the death of an attractive young woman who, it seems, had plenty to live for," he said in his closing address in Brisbane Supreme Court.

"If the accused man killed her, and in fact even if he didn't, but was responsible for putting her body into the wheelie bin, then that was truly appalling conduct.

"It's perhaps hard to imagine a worse example of interfering with a corpse than dumping the body of someone you profess to love into a wheelie bin."

But Mr Hunter, acting for Mr Coburn, said the prosecution was relying on a circumstantial case and suggested the jury could not find his client guilty.

Mr Coburn, 29, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 22-year-old former lover at her Alexandra Headland unit and then dumping her in a wheelie bin after the third State of Origin match on July 7, 2010.

Her body was found horrifically damaged from a garbage truck compactor at the Nambour rubbish tip eight days later.

Mr Hunter said it was obvious his client told "bare-faced lies" to police and that behaviour was "disgraceful" but did not mean he must have killed her.

He asked the jury to put aside "feelings of loathing, disgust, contempt or revulsion" which might have been amplified from the casual way he spoke to police when, if he dumped her in the bin, "he well knew she was rotting inside it or at a landfill".

Mr Hunter said the lies were nonsensical and police could easily disprove his version.

He asked them to question whether Mr Coburn found himself stuck in a circle of lying or whether an accident had occurred, and because of his "untested" violent history with Ms Jones and his irrational thinking while drunk, he sought to hide what had happened, fearing police would not believe him.

Mr Hunter said there was no sign of blood splattering or serious head injury suggesting a violent end.

"Is it inherently unlikely that a person might, when drunk, fall and strike their head causing a laceration, become unconscious and, while unconscious, aspirate vomit and die within two or three breaths?" he suggested.

Crown prosecutor David Meredith had earlier told the jury that Ms Jones was unlucky, and maybe unwise, to find herself with a possessive and controlling man who found out about a new beau.

He said Mr Coburn was unlucky the garbage was collected six days after Ms Jones was dumped and not the next day.

Mr Meredith said a normal person would have called police if it was an accident but suggested something sinister must have happened for Mr Coburn to hide the body and then make it look like "she had disappeared off the face of the earth" by dumping her clothes and other belongings.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Monday.

Topics:  brisbane supreme court justine jones murder trial

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