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Qld body-in-esky killer gets life in jail

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/06/2016
Campbell Paterson © Facebook Campbell Paterson

The sister of a New Zealand man whose dismembered body was found in an esky in far north Queensland says her family can finally begin to heal after his killer was sentenced to life imprisonment.

David Leslie Hickson, 34, was on Monday found guilty of killing Campbell Paterson in November 2014 at a property in Edmonton, south of Cairns.

Both men were users of the drug ice and while Hickson admitted to cutting off Mr Paterson's legs to fit him in the esky, he pleaded not guilty to murder because he believed Mr Paterson planned to harm him.

During the trial, the court heard Hickson was convinced Mr Paterson was plotting his downfall after the New Zealander began to set up tarpaulins near a back deck at an Edmonton home.

In sentencing, Cairns Supreme Court Justice James Henry said there was no honour among participants in the "murky" world of drug debt enforcement - a world Hickson had chosen to occupy.

"This case is yet another example of the reality that methylamphetamine does cause paranoia and aggression in some of those who fall into its grip," he said.

Justice Henry said cutting off Mr Paterson's legs constituted a "despicable indignity done to the dead body of another" which only served to add to the "incalculable grief" inflicted upon the victim's family.

Mr Paterson's sister, Katarina, said it was devastating to hear the grisly details of her brother's murder but justice had been served.

"He deserves to go to jail," she said outside court.

"He's done what he's done, so he's got to pay his time."

But Ms Paterson said her family would never be the same and the verdict wouldn't bring her brother back.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Goan, the head of the Drug Squad in Cairns, said there was no happy ending in cases involving ice.

"The world that these people deal in is one that can lead to tragic circumstances," he said.

Det Sen Sgt Goan said a drop in the price of high-purity ice in far North Queensland indicated demand was being met by supply.

"Roughly the price of ice has halved within our community over the last two years," he said.

"The battle against the drug ice is not a police issue solely, it's a whole-of-community issue."

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